Administration of an extract of Withania somnifera was found to reduce two stage skin carcinogenesis induced by DMBA (dimethyl benzanthracene) and croton oil. Withania somnifera was administered at a concentration of (20 mg/dose/animal i.p.) consecutively on 5 days prior to DMBA administration and continued twice weekly for 10 weeks. After the 180th day of carcinogen administration, all of the animals developed papilloma in the control group whereas only six out of 12 animals developed papilloma in the treated group. A total of 11 papillomas were found in the control group while only six developed them in the Withania somnifera treated group. Enzyme analysis of skin and liver showed significant enhancement in antioxidant enzymes such as GSH, GST, Glutathione peroxides and Catalases in Withania somnifera treated group when compared with the control. The elevated level of lipid peroxide in the control group was significantly inhibited by Withania somnifera administration. These studies indicate that Withania somnifera could reduce the papilloma induced alterations to the antioxidant defense systems.