Knowledge about the optical properties µa , µs , and g of human blood plays an important role for many diagnostic and therapeutic applications in laser medicine and medical diagnostics. They strongly depend on physiological parameters such as oxygen saturation, osmolarity, flow conditions, haematocrit, etc. The integrating sphere technique and inverse Monte Carlo simulations were applied to measure µa , µs , and g of circulating human blood. At 633 nm the optical properties of human blood with a haematocrit of 10% and an oxygen saturation of 98% were found to be 0.210±0.002mm?1 for mµ, 77.3±0.5mm?1 for µs , and 0.994±0.001 for the g factor. An increase of the haematocrit up to 50% lead to a linear increase of absorption and reduced scattering. Variations in osmolarity and wall shear rate led to changes of all three parameters while variations in the oxygen saturation only led to a significant change of the absorption coefficient. A spectrum of all three parameters was measured in the wavelength range 400–2500 nm for oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, showing that blood absorption followed the absorption behavior of haemoglobin and water. The scattering coefficient decreased for wavelengths above 500 nm with approximately ?-1.7; the g factor was higher than 0.9 over the whole wavelength range.