The anti-inflammatory profile of the aqueous extract of Bridelia ferruginea stem bark was investigated using both in vivo and in vitro models. The extract exhibited strong topical anti-inflammatory effect shown as inhibition of croton oil-induced ear oedema in mice, and reduced hind-paw swelling and growth retardation in the adjuvant-induced arthritis model in rats, following oral administration at 10, 20, 40 or 80 mg/kg. The extract (10-80 mg/kg, p.o.) caused an inhibition of increase in vascular permeability in both cyclophosphamide-induced haemorrhagic cystitis and acetic acid-induced vascular permeability in rats and mice, respectively. B. ferruginea produced stabilization of erythrocytes exposed to heat and stress-induced lysis. Antipyretic and analgesic properties of the extract were also observed. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.