Methanolic extracts of three different Tanacetum subspecies [Tanacetum densum (Lab.) Schultz Bip. subsp. sivasicum Hub-Mor and Grierson, Tanacetum densum (Lab.) Schultz Bip. subsp. eginense Heywood and Tanacetum densum (Lab.) Schultz Bip. subsp. amani Heywood] which are endemic to Turkish flora were screened for their possible antioxidant activities by two complementary test systems namely DPPH free radical scavenging and beta-carotene/linoleic acid. In DPPH system, the most active plant was T densum subsp. amani with an IC50 value of 69.30 +/- 0.37 mu g/ml. On the other hand, T. densum subsp. sivasicum exerted greater antioxidant activity than those of other subspecies in beta-carotene/linoleic acid system (79.10% +/- 1.83). Antioxidant activities of BHT, curcumine and ascorbic acid were also determined as positive controls in parallel experiments. Total phenolic constituents of the extracts of Tanacetum subspecies were performed employing the literature methods involving Folin-Ciocalteu reagent and gallic acid as standard. The amount of total phenolics was highest in subsp. sivasicum (162.33 +/- 3.57 mu g/mg), followed by subsp. amani (158.44 +/- 2.17 mu g/mg). Especially, a positive correlation was observed between total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of the extracts. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.