OBJECTIVES To investigate the protective effect of Herpetospermum pedunculosum (H. pedunculosum) seed oil against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damage. METHODS This experimental study was conducted at the Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Yantai University, China from November 2012 to May 2013. The H. pedunculosum seed oil was extracted using supercritical carbon dioxide. The antioxidant activities of H. pedunculosum seed oil were assayed in vitro by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl assay, lipid peroxidation assay, and antihemolytic assay. Adult Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into 6 groups (10 rats/group) including control, CCl4, CCl4+bifendate, and CCl4+H. pedunculosum seed oil (3 different doses) groups. RESULTS The CCl4-induced liver lesions include hepatocyte necrosis, ballooning degeneration, calcification, and fibrosis. Moreover, CCl4 damage results in an obvious increase of serum triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, malondialdehyde, total bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase activity. In addition, CCl4 also significantly decreased the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD). By contrast, H. pedunculosum seed oil administration significantly ameliorated the CCl4-induced liver lesions, lowered the serum levels of hepatic enzyme markers, and increased the activities of SOD. CONCLUSION The results of this study show that H. pedunculosum seed oil can be proposed to protect the liver against CCl4-induced oxidative damage in rats, and the hepatoprotective effect might be correlated with its potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging effect.