ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICA RELEVANCE: Picrasma quassiodes (D. Don) Benn. (PQB) is a widely used herbal medicine used for gastroenteritis, snakebite, infection and hypertension in China. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible antihypertensive mechanisms on spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) of the extract from Picrasma quassiodes (D. Don) Benn. In the in vivo study, extract from Picrasma quassiodes (D. Don) Benn. at the dose of 50, 100, 200mg/kg and captopril (12.5mg/kg) were administrated to different group of SHR rats by gavage for six consecutive weeks after the blood pressures were firstly measured. At the end of the study, rats serum nitric oxide (NO) was measured by the nitrate reductase method; superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) activities were measured by the colorimetric method; the expression of aorta endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) was measured by immunohistochemical analysis. The results showed that the oral administration of PQB could lower the systolic blood pressure (SBP) of SHR rats. In addition, the serum level of NO in SHR treated with PQB (100 and 200mg/kg) was increased dramatically (P<0.05, P<0.01), but administration with captopril had no significant effect. The expression of aorta eNOS was markedly increased when treated with PQB. The serum SOD levels were increased with treatment of PQB (100 and 200mg/kg; P<0.05, P<0.01). All the effects of these parameters were comparable to that of the SHR control group. Our results disclosed that PQB is effective to lower blood pressure of SHR, its antihypertensive effect is probably associated with lowering oxidative stress by reducing SOD activity, preserving endothelial function and increasing the expression of eNOS to regulate NO and directly relax artery.