Nephrotoxicity is one of the serious dose limiting side effects of cisplatin when used in the treatment of various malignant conditions. Accumulating evidence suggests that oxidative stress caused by free radicals and apoptosis of renal cells contributes to the pathogenesis of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Present study was aimed to explore the effect of carnosic acid, a potent antioxidant, against cisplatin induced oxidative stress and nephrotoxicity in rats. A single dose of cisplatin (7.5mg/kg) caused marked renal damage, characterized by a significant (P<0.05) increase in serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and relative weight of kidney with higher kidney MDA (malondialdehyde), tROS (total reactive oxygen species), caspase 3, GSH (reduced glutathione) levels and lowered tissue nitrite, SOD (superoxide dismutase), CAT (catalase), GSH-Px (glutathione peroxidase), GR (glutathione reductase) and GST (glutathione S-transferase) levels compared to normal control. Carnosic acid treatment significantly (P<0.05) attenuated the increase in lipid peroxidation, caspase-3 and ROS generation and enhanced the levels of reduced glutathione, tissue nitrite level and activities of SOD, CAT, GSH-Px, GR and GST compared to cisplatin control. The present study demonstrates that carnosic acid has a protective effect on cisplatin induced experimental nephrotoxicity and is attributed to its potent antioxidant and antiapoptotic properties.