Cardamom, the fruits of Elettaria cardamomum Maton. (Zingiberaceae) commonly known as "Heel khurd" is used in Unani system of medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders. A crude methanolic extract (TM), essential oil (EO), petroleum ether soluble (PS) and insoluble (PI) fractions of methanolic extract, were studied in rats at doses of 100-500, 12.5-50, 12.5-150 and 450 mg/kg, respectively for their ability to inhibit the gastric lesions induced by aspirin, ethanol and pylorous ligature. In addition their effects on wall mucus and gastric acid output were recorded. All fractions (TM, EO, PS, PI) significantly inhibited gastric lesions induced by ethanol and aspirin but not those induced by pylorus ligation. TM proved to be active reducing lesions by about 70% in the EtOH-induced ulcer model at 500 mg/kg. The PS fraction reduced the lesions by 50% at 50 and 100mg/kg (no dose response was observed) with similar effect than the PI fraction at 450 mg/kg. In the aspirin-induced gastric ulcer, the best gastroprotective effect was found in the PS fraction, which inhibited lesions by nearly 100% at 12.5mg/kg. In our experimental conditions, the PS extract at doses >or=12.5mg/kg proved to be more active than ranitidine at 50mg/kg.