Picrorhiza kurroa (Pk), a known hepatoprotective plant, was studied in experimental and clinical situtations. The standardization of active principles--Picroside 1 and 2 was done with High Performance Liquid Chromatography. Picroside 1 ranged from 2.72 to 2.88 mg/capsule and picroside 2 from 5.50 to 6.00 mg/capsule. In the galactosamine-induced liver injury in rats, Pk at a dose of 200 mg/kg p.o. showed a significant reduction (p < 0.05) in liver lipid content, GOT and GPT. In a randomised, double-blind placebo controlled trial in patients diagnosed to have acute viral hepatitis (HBsAg negative), Pk root powder 375 mg three times a day was given for 2 weeks (n = 15) or a matching placebo (n = 18) was given. Difference in values of bilirubin, SGOT and SGPT was significant between placebo and Pk groups. The time in days required for total serum bilirubin to drop to average value of 2.5 mg% was 75.9 days in placebo as against 27.44 days in Pk group. The present study has shown a biological plausability of efficacy of Pk as supported by clinical trial in viral hepatitis, hepatoprotection in animal model and an approach for standardizing extracts based on picroside content.