The antioxidant and drug metabolizing potentials of Hibiscus anthocyanin extract in CCl(4)- induced oxidative damage of rat liver was investigated. Hibiscus anthocyanin extract effectively scavenge α-diphenyl-β-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, superoxide ion, and hydrogen peroxide. It produced a 92% scavenging effect of DPPH radical at a concentration of 2.0 mg/mL. Hibiscus anthocyanin extract produced a 69 and 90% scavenging effect on superoxide ion and hydrogen peroxide, respectively, at 1.0 mg/mL, which compared favorably with the synthetic antioxidant (butylated hydroanisole and α-tocopherol). A reducing power of this anthocyanin was examined using K(3)Fe(CN)(6). Hibiscus anthocyanin extract has reducing power that is approximately 2-fold that of the synthetic antioxidant, butylated hydroanisole. Hibiscus anthocyanin extract produced a significantly increase and completely attenuated the CCl(4)-mediated decrease in antioxidant enzymes (e.g., catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase). However, the level of nonenzymic antioxidant molecules (i.e., vitamins C and E) were significant preserved by Hibiscus anthocyanin extract. There was an induction of phase II drug-detoxifying enzymes: glutathione S-transferase, NAD(H):quinone oxidoreductase, and uridyl diphosphoglucuronosyl transferase by 65, 45, and 57%, respectively. In view of these properties, Hibiscus sabdariffa anthocyanin extract can act as a prophylactic by intervening as a free radical scavenger both in vitro and in vivo as well as inducing the phase II drug detoxification enzymes.