The present study was performed to evaluate the antihypertensive effects of honokiol in vivo in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The effects of honokiol were investigated by determination of the blood pressure, vascular reactivity, oxidative parameters, and histologic change in the aorta. Long-term administration of honokiol (400 mg/kg/d) to SHR decreased systolic blood pressure significantly. Honokiol (200, 400 mg/kg/d) enhanced the aortic relaxation in response to acetylcholine after 49-d treatment, but had no significant effects on the relaxation to sodium nitroprusside. The oral administration of honokiol significantly increased the plasma level of NO(2(-))/NO(3(-)), but decreased the level of malondialdehyde in liver of SHR compared with the control vehicle. In addition, SHR administered honokiol showed significant reductions in the elastin bands and media thickness in the aorta. These results suggest that chronic treatment with honokiol exerts an antihypertensive effect in SHR, and its vasorelaxant action and antioxidant properties may contribute to reducing the elevated blood pressure.