Protection against whole body gamma-irradiation (WBI) of Swiss mice orally fed with Triphala (TPL), an Ayurvedic formulation, in terms of mortality of irradiated animals as well as DNA damage at cellular level has been investigated. It was found that radiation induced mortality was reduced by 60% in mice fed with TPL (1g/kg body weight/day) orally for 7 days prior to WBI at 7.5 Gy followed by post-irradiation feeding for 7 days. An increase in xanthine oxidoreductase activity and decrease in superoxide dismutase activity was observed in the intestine of mice exposed to WBI, which, however, reverted back to those levels of sham-irradiated controls, when animals were fed with TPL for 7 days prior to irradiation. These data have suggested the prevention of oxidative damage caused by whole body radiation exposure after feeding of animals with TPL. To further understand the mechanisms involved, the magnitude of DNA damage was studied by single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) in blood leukocytes and splenocytes obtained from either control animals or those fed with TPL for 7 days followed by irradiation. Compared to irradiated animals without administering TPL, the mean tail length was reduced about three-fold in blood leukocytes of animals fed with TPL prior to irradiation. Although, similar protection was observed in splenocytes of TPL fed animals, the magnitude of prevention of DNA damage was significantly higher than that observed in leukocytes. It has been concluded that TPL protected whole body irradiated mice and TPL induced protection was mediated through inhibition of oxidative damage in cells and organs. TPL seems to have potential to develop into a novel herbal radio-protector for practical applications.