The protective effects of Rooibos tea (RT), Aspalathus linearis, against damage to the central nervous system (CNS) accompanying aging were examined by both the thiobarbituric acid reaction (TBA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods in brains of chronically RT-treated rats. Ad libitum administration of RT was begun with 3-month-old Wistar female rats and continued for 21 months. The contents of TBA reactive substances (TBARS) in the frontal cortex, occipital cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum in 24-month-old rats after administration with water were significantly higher than those in young rats (5 weeks old). However, no significant increase of TBARS was observed in RT-administered aged rats. When MR images of the brains of 24-month-old rats with and without RT as well as 5-week-old rats were taken, a decrease of the signal intensity was observed in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum in MR images of aged rats without RT, whereas little change of the signal intensity was observed in MR images of the same regions of 24-month-old rats treated with RT, whose images were similar to those of young rats. These observations suggested that (1) the age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in the brain was closely related to the morphological changes observed by MRI, and (2) chronic RT-administration prevented age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in several regions of rat brain.