The hexane, chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts of the leaves of Cussia alata Linn. were tested for their antimutagenic, antifungal, analgesic, antiinflammatory and hypoglycaemic activities. At a dosage of 5 mg/20 g mouse, the hexane extract was analgesic as it reduced the number of squirms induced by acetic acid by 59.5%. Both the hexane and EtOAc extracts exhibited antiinflammatory activity at a dosage of 5 mg/20 g mouse with a 65.5% and 68.2% decrease in carrageenan-induced inflammation, respectively. The chloroform extract was antimutagenic, at a dosage of 2 mg/20 g mouse, with a 65.8% inhibition in the mutagenicity of tetracycline. It was also the most active against Trichophyton mentagrophytes, at a concentration of 50 mg/mL but it had no activity against Candida albicans. The hexane and EtOAc extracts showed some activity against both organisms, with the EtOAc extract being more active against C. albicans. The EtOAc extract was hypoglycaemic. At a dosage of 5 mg/20 g mouse, it decreased the blood sugar level of mice by 58.3%. Pharmacological studies showed that all extracts caused an immediate decrease in motor activity, enophthalmus, hyperemia, micturition and diarrhoea. At a dosage of 150 mg/20 g mouse, the EtOAc extract caused paralysis, screen grip loss and enophthalmus accompanied by drooping and closure of the eyelids. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.