The radioprotective effect of the hydroalcoholic extract of ginger rhizome, Zingiber officinale (ZOE), was studied. Mice were given 10 mg/kg ZOE intraperitoneally once daily for five consecutive days before exposure to 6-12 Gy of gamma radiation and were monitored daily up to 30 days postirradiation for the development of symptoms of radiation sickness and mortality. Pretreatment of mice with ZOE reduced the severity of radiation sickness and the mortality at all doses. The ZOE treatment protected mice from GI syndrome as well as bone marrow syndrome. The dose reduction factor for ZOE was found to be 1.15. The optimum protective dose of 10 mg/kg ZOE was 1/50 of the LD50 (500 mg/kg). Irradiation of the animals resulted in a dose-dependent elevation in the lipid peroxidation and depletion of GSH on day 31 postirradiation; both effects were lessened by pretreatment with ZOE. ZOE also had a dose-dependent antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.