Abstract Vasorelaxant effects of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet (EOAZ) and its main constituent, 1,8-cineole (CIN) were studied. In rat isolated aorta preparations with intact endothelium, EOAZ (0.01–3000 μg/ml) induced significant but incomplete relaxation of the phenylephrine-induced contraction, an effect that was abolished by removal of vascular endothelium. However, at the same concentrations (0.01–3000 μg/ml corresponding to 0.0000647–19.5 mM), CIN induced a complete vasorelaxant effects (IC 50=663.2±63.8 μg/ml) that were significantly reduced in endothelium-denuded rings (IC 50=1620.6±35.7 μg/ml). Neither EOAZ nor CIN affected the basal tonus of isolated aorta. Vasorelaxant effects of both EOAZ and CIN remained unaffected by the addition of tetraethylamonium chloride (500 μM) or indomethacin (10 μM) into the bath, but were significantly reduced by N G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (100 μM). It is concluded that EOAZ induces a potent vasorelaxant effect that could not be fully attributed to the actions of the main constituent CIN, and appears totally dependent on the integrity of a functional vascular endothelium. The data is novel and corroborate the popular use of A. zerumbet for the treatment of hypertension.