The response of many previously low-detectable or undetectable compounds in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has been enhanced by the addition of a simple, homemade needle into the traditional ESI interface. The needle located between the ESI emitter and the ion sweep cone (inlet of the detector) would ionize those neutral gaseous compounds, formed during electrospray, by a corona discharge process. The mobile phases, ESI parameters and positions of the needle were investigated and optimized. Several groups of compounds and herbal extracts were tested using the homemade set-up. Both the results of the flow injection and the hyphenated MS analyses showed significant enhancement effects of our homemade needle. The advantages of the proposed method include low cost, simplicity and practicality.