The protective effects of common dandelion leaf water extract (DLWE) were investigated by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced hepatitis in Sprague-Dawley rats. The animals were divided into five groups: normal control, DLWE control, CCl4 control, and two DLWE groups (0.5 and 2 g/kg bw). After 1 week of administering corresponding vehicle or DLWE, a single dose of CCl4 (50% CCl4/olive oil; 0.5 mL/kg bw) was administered 24 h before killing in order to produce acute liver injury. The DLWE treatment significantly decreased CCl4-induced hepatic enzyme activities (AST, ALT and LDH) in a dose dependent manner. Also, the obstructed release of TG and cholesterol into the serum was repaired by DLWE administration. Hepatic lipid peroxidation was elevated while the GSH content and antioxidative enzyme activities were reduced in the liver as a result of CCl4 administration, which were counteracted by DLWE administration. Furthermore, the hepatocytotoxic effects of CCl4 were confirmed by significantly elevated Fas and TNF-? mRNA expression levels, but DLWE down-regulated these expressions to the levels of the normal control. Highly up-regulated cytochrome P450 2E1 was also lowered significantly in the DLWE groups. These results indicate that DLWE has a protective effect against CCl4-induced hepatic damage with at least part of its effect being attributable to the attenuation of oxidative stress and inflammatory processes resulting from cytochrome P450 activation by CCl4. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.