Ganoderma lucidum was studied for its antioxidative activity by bioassay guided isolation in conjunction with in vitro tests. The powdered crude drug was treated with boiling water and the aqueous extract (Ex1) was further separated to obtain terpene and polysaccharide fractions. The two fractions and Ex1 were screened for their antioxidative effect against pyrogallol induced erythrocyte membrane oxidation and Fe (II)-ascorbic acid induced lipid peroxidation. All tested samples showed antioxidative activities in a dose dependent manner and the terpene fraction was found to possess the highest effect compared with the others. Chemical isolation of the terpene fraction resulted in the detection of ganoderic acids A, B, C and D, lucidenic acid B and ganodermanontriol as major ingredients. Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.