Cinnamomum cassia is used as a flavoring spice with some established medicinal properties. In this study, we evaluated the antimutagenic effect of C. cassia against two mutagens, viz. benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and cyclophosphamide (CP). The antimutagenic properties of C. cassia were examined by the Ames test. In vivo chromosomal aberration (CA) and micronuclei tests were also employed to assess the antimutagenic effect of C. cassia in mice after pretreatment with the extract orally for seven consecutive days. To elucidate the mechanism by which C. cassia exerts its antimutagenic effect, certain key enzymes involved in bioactivation and detoxification processes were also investigated. Changes in liver cytochrome P450 (Cyt P450), glutathione content (GSH), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GR), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) were evaluated in pretreated animals. It was observed in the Ames test, bone marrow chromosomal aberration assay, and micronucleus test that C. cassia exerted significant antimutagenic effects against B[a]P and CP in animals treated with the plant extract. C. cassia pretreatment decreased Cyt P450 content but increased GSH content and the activity of glutathione-dependent antioxidant enzymes, viz. GST, GR, and GPX. The present findings demonstrate that the antimutagenic potential of C. cassia could be attributed to its modulatory effect on the xenobiotic bioactivation and detoxification processes. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.