High performance liquid chromatography was employed to determine the contents of eight marker bioactive components such as rhein, aloe-emodin, nobiletin, emodin, honokiol, magnolol, chrysophanol, and physcion in the traditional Chinese medicinal preparation, Xiaochengqi decoction. The separation was performed on a C18 column by stepwise gradient elution with water (1.1% v/v acetic acid)–acetonitrile (0.01min, 75:25; 15 min, 60:40; 30 min, 50:50; 40 min, 45:55; 55min, 30:70) as the mobile phase at a flow-rate of 1.0ml·min-1, with UV detection at 254nm. Eight regression equations showed good linear relationships between the peak area and the amount of each marker. The recoveries of the markers were 99.6, 99.5, 97.4, 97.7, 98.9, 97.9, 99.0 and 98.5%, respectively. The repeatability and reproducibility (relative standard deviation) of the method were less than 2.1% and 2.5%, respectively.