Brain ischemia induces neuronal loss which is caused in part by excitotoxicity and free radical formation. Here, we report that mangiferin and morin, two antioxidant polyphenols, are neuroprotective in both in vitro and in vivo models of ischemia. Cell death caused by glutamate in neuronal cultures was decreased in the presence of submicromolar concentrations of mangiferin or morin which in turn attenuated receptor-mediated calcium influx, oxidative stress as well as apoptosis. In addition, both antioxidants diminished the generation of free radicals and neuronal loss in the hippocampal CA1 region due to transient forebrain ischemia in rats when administered after the insult. Importantly, neuroprotection by these antioxidants was functionally relevant since treated-ischemic rats performed significantly better in three hippocampal-dependent behavioral tests. Together, these results indicate that mangiferin and morin have potent neuroprotectant activity which may be of therapeutic value for the treatment of acute neuronal damage and disability.