The effect of various doses of 50% ethanolic extract of chyavanaprasha (an Ayurvedic rejuvenating herbal preparation) was studied on the survival of mice exposed to 10 Gy of γ-radiation. Treatment with chyavanaprasha, consecutively for five days before irradiation, delayed symptoms of radiation sickness and onset of mortality when compared with the non-drug treated irradiated controls. All doses of chyavanaprasha provided a significant protection against gastrointestinal (GI) death (death of animals within 10 days after exposure to radiation), however, highest protection against GI death was observed for 15 mg/kg chyavanaprasha. Chyavanaprasha also provided a significant protection against the bone marrow death after 10 to 40 mg/kg. However, the best protection was seen for 15 mg/kg, where the highest number of survivors was observed at the end of 30 days post-irradiation. The drug was non-toxic up to a dose of 6 g/kg b. wt., the highest drug dose that could be tested. Our study demonstrates that chyavanaprasha can provide good radioprotection at a very low non-toxic dose.
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