Chyawanprash is an ancient Indian dietary supplement containing vitamin C (34 mg/100 g) derived from amla (Emblica officinalis). In addition, Chyawanprash also contains several other herbal products. The present study was designed to compare the effects of vitamin C with those of Chyawanprash. Ten normal healthy adult male volunteers (age 20-32 years) participated in the 16-week study. They were placed randomly in either the Chyawanprash group (n = 5) or vitamin C group (n = 5). Those in the former received 15 g/d of Chyawanprash while those in the latter received 500 mg/d vitamin C during the first 8 weeks of the study. For the next 8 weeks, no supplement was given. For each individual, an oral glucose tolerance test was performed, and lipoprotein profile in peripheral serum samples was determined at 0 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. In the Chyawanprash group, the 8 weeks Vs 0 weeks value (mean +/- S.D.) respectively for various indices which were significantly different were fasting plasma glucose (100.2 +/- 5.58 mg/dl vs 116.2 +/- 11.6 mg/dl), area under 2-h plasma glucose curve (245.9 +/- 15.13 mg.dl-1.h vs 280.8 +/- 37.09 mg.dl-1.h), HDL cholesterol (53.2 +/- 4.56 mg/dl vs 42.7 +/- 7.17 mg/dl), LDL cholesterol (82.4 +/- 8.80 mg/dl vs 98.26 +/- 12.07 mg/dl), LDL/HDL ratio (1.56 +/- 0.28 vs 2.38 +/- 0.63). In the Vitamin C group, only the LDL/HDL ratio was significantly lower at 8 weeks than at 0 weeks (1.99 +/- 0.44 vs 2.29 +/- 0.43). All the variables that changed significantly were no longer significantly different from the 0 weeks value at 16 weeks. Chyawanprash reduces postprandial glycemia in the oral glucose tolerance test and reduces blood cholesterol level to a significantly greater extent than vitamin C.