The ethanol extract of the entire plant of Aerva lanata was studied for its nephroprotective activity in cisplatin- and gentamicin-induced acute renal injury in albino rats of either sex. In the curative regimen, the extract at dose levels of 75, 150 and 300mg/kg showed dose-dependent reduction in the elevated blood urea and serum creatinine and normalized the histopathological changes in the curative regimen . In the gentamicin model the rats in the preventive regimen also showed good response to the ethanol extract at 300mg/kg. The findings suggest that the ethanol extract of Aerva lanata possesses marked nephroprotective activity with minimal toxicity and could offer a promising role in the treatment of acute renal injury caused by nephrotoxins like cisplatin and gentamicin. © 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.