Antioxidative effects of the principal polyphenolic components extracted from green tea leaves, i.e. (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and gallic acid (GA), against free radical initiated peroxidation of rat liver microsomes were studied. The peroxidation was initiated by a water-soluble azo compound 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane hydrochloride (AAPH). The reaction kinetics was monitored by oxygen uptake and formation of malondialdehyde (MDA). Kinetic analysis of the antioxidation process demonstrates that these green tea polyphenols (GOHs), especially EC and ECG which bear ortho-dihydroxyl functionality, are good antioxidants for microsomal peroxidation. The antioxidant synergism of these GOHs with the endogenous alpha-tocopherol (TOH) (vitamin E) is also discussed.