Viscum album L. has been used in the indigenous system of medicine for treatment of various diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. In the literature, phenylpropan and flavonoid derivatives were suggested to play a role in the inhibition of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-phosphodiesterase (PDE) and a correlation was proposed between the in vitro inhibition of PDE and in vivo pharmacological activity. The Vascular effects of the phenolic compounds and subfractions isolated from n-butanolic fraction of V. album ssp. album were studied on noradrenaline-contracted rat aortic rings. Isolated phenolic compounds (Syringin (VA-1), Coniferin (VA-9), 5,7-dimethoxy-flavanone-4'-O-[beta-D-apiofuranosyl(1 --> 2)]-beta-D-glucopyranoside (VA-4)) produced concentration-dependent contractions in rat aortic rings. Only one compound (Kalopanaxin D (VA-15)) displayed very slight relaxant response. The weak concentration-dependent relaxing effect of the subfractions gave the idea that vasodilator activity were observed in the less polar subfractions. In addition, there was no clear correlation between the weak relaxant effects of subfractions and an inhibitory effect on cAMP-PDE. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.