The aerial parts of two endemic Pimpinella [Pimpinella anisetum Boiss. & Ball. and Pimpinella flabellifolia (Boiss.) Benth. ex Drude] were hydro-distilled to produce oils in the yields of 2.07% (v/w) and 2.61% (v/w), respectively. The oils were analysed by GC and GC/MS. Twenty-one and nineteen components were identified, representing 99.5% and 99.7% of the oils, respectively. The main compounds of P. anisetum were (E)-anethole (82.8%) and methyl chavicol (14.5%), whereas limonene (47.0%), (E)-anethole (37.9%) and alpha-pinene (6.0%) were the major constituents of P. flabellifolia. The oils were screened for their possible antioxidant activities by two complementary test systems, namely DPPH free radical-scavenging and beta-carotene/linoleic acid systems. In the first case, P. anisetum oil exerted greater antioxidant activity than that of P. flabellifolia oil with an IC50 value of 5.62 +/- 1.34 mu g/ml. In the beta-carotene/linoleic acid test system, the oil of P. anisetum was superior to P. flabellifolia with 70.5% +/- 2.86 inhibition rate. Essential oils of the plants studied here were also screened for their antimicrobial activities against six bacteria and two fungi. The oils showed moderate antimicrobial activity against all microorganisms tested. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.