Active oxygen species are suggested to be concerned with various senile disorders. Tea catechins, (+)catechin (CA), (-)epicatechin (EC) and (-)epigallocatechin gallate, are polyhydroxy-fravan derivatives from tea leaves and have been proposed to possess active oxygen scavenging effect. Tea catechins protected the cultured newborn-mouse cerebral nerve cells from death induced by glucose oxidase. The protective potency of (-)epigallocatechin gallate was weaker than those of EC and CA. Learning ability of mice was assessed by a step-down-type passive avoidance test, and memory impairment of mice was achieved by intracisternal injection of glucose oxidase or cerebral ischemia induced by 10 min occlusion of the common carotid arteries. Intracisternal injection of EC improved the memory impairment induced by intracisternal glucose oxidase, and i.v. injection of CA or EC improved that induced by the cerebral ischemia. CA and EC depressed carrageenin-induced edema in rat hind paw, but (-)epigallocatechin gallate did not. These results suggest that tea catechins ameliorate the injuries or impairments induced by active oxygens through scavenging intracellular active oxygens, and might become useful for protecting human from senile disorders such as dementia.