Anti-candidial activities of eight traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) herbs were evaluated against six different Candida species. TCM preparations were screened for antifungal activity using a standard agar diffusion assay. Following identification of potential candidate herbs, their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined using the standardised NCCLS M-27A broth microdilution assay. Among TCM herbs, Rhizoma Coptidis had potent antifungal activity against Candida glabrata, Candida krusei and Candida tropicalis, but not against Candida albicans, Candida dubliniensis and Candida parapsolosis. The MIC values of the Rhizoma Coptidis against C. glabrata, C. krusei and C. tropicalis were 50, 50 and 100 microg ml(-1) respectively. We report here, for the first time, the potent antifungal activity of Rhizoma Coptidis and Cortex phellodendri Chinesis on three different non-albicans Candida species, C. glabrata, C. krusei and C. tropicalis and hence their possible use as therapeutic agents.