Mucuna pruriens Linn., a leguminous plant, has been recognized as an aphrodisiac and spermatogenic agent. Protective efficacy of M. pruriens on reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced pathophysiological alterations in structural and functional integrity of epididymal sperm in aged Wister albino rat was analysed. Animals were grouped as groups I, II, III and IV, i.e. young (control), aged, aged treated with ethanolic extract (200 mg/kg b.w.) of M. pruriens and young rats treated with M. pruriens, respectively. At the end of the experimental period, i.e. after 60 days animals were sacrificed, epididymal sperm were collected and subjected to count, viability, motility, morphology and morphometric analysis. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, ROS, lipid peroxidation (LPO), DNA damage, chromosomal integrity and mitochondrial membrane potential were estimated. Results obtained from the aged animals showed significant reduction in sperm count, viability and motility, increased morphological damage and an increase in the number of sperm with cytoplasmic remnant, and these alterations were significantly reversed in M. pruriens treated group. Significant increase in LPO, HO and H(2)O(2) production and significant decline in the levels of the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants were observed in the aged animals. Supplementation of M. pruriens significantly reduced ROS and LPO production and significant increase in both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant levels. There were significant DNA damage, loss of chromosomal integrity and increase in mitochondrial membrane permeability in aged rat sperm. This was significantly reduced in group III. Present observation indicates the antioxidant enhancing property, free radical quenching ability and spermatogenic efficacy of the M. pruriens. Collectively, sperm damage in ageing was significantly reduced by quenching ROS, improving antioxidant defence system and mitochondrial function.