In an earlier screening of Lithuanian plants, horehound (Marrubium vulgare) showed good antioxidant activity and as this species is used in herbal teas and cough pastilles it was selected for further investigation. Some fractions of the aerial parts were strong scavengers of the model free radicals DPPH and ABTS'. Activity in the beta-carotene bleaching assay and the rapeseed oil oxidation assay was lower. Several active compounds were observed in the crude methanol-water extract, and in butanol and methyl tert-butyl ether fractions using HPLC with on-line radical scavenging detection. After multi-step fractionation of these fractions five compounds possessing radical scavenging activity were purified and their structures were elucidated by NMR and MS as 5,6-dihydroxy-7,4'-dimethoxyflavone (syn. ladanein), 7-O-beta-glucopyranosyl luteolin, 7-O-beta-glucuronyl luteolin, verbascoside and forsythoside B. Their activities were tested in off-line DPPH and ABTS(+) free radical scavenging assays, and compared with the antioxidants rosmarinic acid and Trolox. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.