To establish an HPLC-UV-ELSD method for the determination of the content of artemisinin, arteannuin B and artemisinic acid in Herba Artemisiae Annuae. The analytical column was Nucleodur RP-C18 (250 mm x 4.6 mm, 5 microm ID). The mobile phase was acetonirile-0.1% acetic acid (50: 50) and the flow rate was 1.0 mL x min(-1) with a UV detector for artemisinin, the detection wavelength at 209 nm, and the evaporative light-scattering detector (ELSD) for arteannuin B and artemisinic acid, the drift tube temperature: 50 degrees C, the nitrogen flow rate 30 psi and the gain was 50. The resolution of artemisinin, arteannuin B and artemisinic acid was good. The linear calibration curves were obtained over the range of 0.52 - 2.6 microg for artemisinin (r = 0.999 4, n = 5), 0.022 - 4.4 microg for artemisinin B (r = 0.999 9, n = 5) and 0.203 - 8.12 microg for artemisinic acid (r = 0.999 8, n = 5), separately. The mean recoveries of the three compounds were 99.45%, 102.37% and 101.10% with RSD of 2.3%, 1.7% and 0.79%, respectively. This method is simple, rapid, accurate and suitable for the determination of the content of the three compounds in the herbs.