Total flavones of Hippophae Rhamnoides L (TFH) are extracted from Sea buckthorn, a Chinese herbal medicine. Sea buckthorn has antioxidant, anti-ulcerogenic and hepato-protective actions, and its berry oil is reported to suppress platelet aggregation. Though it is frequently used for patients with thrombosis, the likely mechanism(s) and effects of TFH on thrombogenesis remain unclear. Thus, we have investigated the effect in-vivo of TFH on thrombogenesis and in vitro on platelet aggregation, comparing them to those of aspirin. We measured thrombotic occlusion time in a mouse femoral artery thrombosis model by the photochemical reaction between intravenously injected rose bengal and green light irradiation. In vitro platelet aggregation in whole blood was measured by single platelet counting. Thrombotic occlusion time was 8.5 +/- 0.6 min in the control group. TFH at a dose of 300 micro g/kg, intravenously administered 15 min before the rose bengal injection, significantly prolonged it to 11.6 +/- 1.0 min (P < 0.05), a similar effect on in-vivo thrombogenesis to that of aspirin. TFH at a concentration of 3.0 micro g/ml significantly (P < 0.01) inhibited in vitro platelet aggregation induced by collagen (2 micro g/ml) in a concentration dependent manner, in contrast TFH did not affect aggregation induced by arachidonic acid (80 micro M) and ADP (0.3 micro M). The results of the present study, in which TFH prevented in-vivo thrombogenesis, probably due to inhibition of platelet aggregation, suggest a possible clinical approach for the prevention of thrombosis.