Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive dementia. Bacopa monniera is described in the Ayurvedic Materia Medica, as a therapeutically useful herb for the treatment of cognitive impairment, thus supporting its possible anti-Alzheimer's properties. Our studies have shown that Bacopa monniera reduces beta-amyloid deposits in the brain of an Alzheimer's disease animal model. The objective of this study was to establish the presence of endogenous substances in Bacopa monniera extract (BmE) that will impact components of the oxidative stress cascade such as the reduction of divalent metals, scavenging of reactive oxygen species, alterations of lipoxygenase activity and hydrogen peroxide-induced lipid peroxidation. The extract contained polyphenols and sulfhydryl contents suggestive of endogenous antioxidant activity. The results demonstrated that BmE reduced divalent metals, dose-dependently scavenged reactive oxygen species, decreased the formation of lipid peroxides and inhibited lipoxygenase activity. These data combined with our previous studies that have shown that BmE treatment reduces beta-amyloid levels in the brain of an Alzheimer's disease doubly transgenic mouse model of rapid amyloid deposition (PSAPP mice) suggesting mechanisms of action relevant to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.