Olive leaf extract (OLE) possesses, among other, antioxidative properties, but whether it influences gastroprotection against stress-induced gastric lesions remains unknown. In this study we investigated the protective effect of OLE, a natural antioxidant, on gastric mucosal damage induced by cold restraint stress (CRS) in rats. Three different doses of commercial OLE EFLA((R)) 943 were applied intragastrically (i.g.) 30 min prior to stress induction. Macroscopic gastric lesions were evaluated and ulcer index (UI) was calculated. Histological evidence of gastric mucosal lesions was also obtained. Concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) as an index of lipid peroxidation, and catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were determined in gastric mucosa. The effects of applied OLE on gastric mucosal lesions, lipid peroxidation and antioxidative enzymes activity were compared with effects of i.g. pretreatment of reference drug, ranitidine. CRS caused severe gastric lesions in all non-pretreated animals, and this finding was confirmed histologicaly. Pretreatment with OLE (40, 80 and 120 mg.kg(-1)), as well as with ranitidine (50 mg.kg(-1)), significantly (p < 0.001) attenuated stress-induced gastric lesions. Treatment with 80 mg.kg(-1) of OLE was the most effective in prevention of rise in gastric MDA level and decrease in CAT and SOD activity. The results obtained indicate that OLE possesses gastroprotective activity against CRS-induced gastric lesions in rats, possibly related to its antioxidative properties.