Investigations were carried out to evaluate the effect of aqueous extract of H. rosa sinensis leaves on blood glucose level and glucose tolerance using Wistar rats. Repeated administration of the extract (once a day for seven consecutive days), at an oral dose equivalent to 250 mg kg(-1), significantly improved glucose tolerance in rats. The peak blood glucose level was obtained at 30 min of glucose load (2 g kg(-1)), thereafter a decreasing trend was recorded up to 120 min. The data exhibit that repeated ingestion of the reference drug tolbutamide, a sulphonylurea and the extract brings about 2-3 fold decrease in blood glucose concentration as compared to single oral treatment. The results clearly indicate that tolbutamide improves the glucose tolerance by 91% and extract does so only by 47%. At 250 mg kg(-1), the efficacy of the extract was 51.5% of tolbutamide (100mg kg(-1)). In streptozotocin diabetic rats, no significant effect was observed with the extract, while glibenclamide significantly lowered the glucose level up to 7 hr. These data suggest that hypoglycemic activity of H. rosa sinensis leaf extract is comparable to tolbutamide and not to glibenclamide treatment.