Galls of Quercus infectoria Olivier (Fagaceae) possess pleiotropic therapeutic activities, with particular efficacy against inflammatory diseases. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of alcoholic extract of Q. infectoria galls on various in vivo and in vitro experimental models of inflammation. Oral administration of gall extract significantly inhibited carrageenan, histamine, serotonin and prostaglandin E2 (PGE 2) induced paw oedemas, while topical application of gall extract inhibited phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) induced ear inflammation. The extract also inhibited various functions of macrophages and neutrophils relevant to the inflammatory response. In vitro exposure of rat peritoneal macrophages to gall extract ameliorated lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated PGE2 and nitric oxide (NO) production and PMA stimulated superoxide (O2•-) production in a dose dependent manner. Gall extract also scavenged NO and O2•-. Probing into mechanism of NO inhibition in macrophages revealed gall extract to ameliorate the induction of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), respectively without any inhibitory effect on its catalytic activities even at higher concentrations. Gall extract also significantly inhibited formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP) stimulated degranulation in neutrophils. These results suggest that alcoholic extract of galls of Q. infectoria exerts in vivo antiinflammatory activity after oral or topical administration and also has the ability to prevent the production of some inflammatory mediators. © 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.