Thirteen lipophilic extracts prepared with n-hexane from various parts of Pistacia vera L. tree (Anacardiaceae) growing in Turkey were screened for their in vitro activity against four parasitic protozoa, Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania donovani and Plasmodium falciparum. Melarsoprol, benznidazole, miltefosine, artemisinin and chloroquine were used as reference drugs. The cytotoxic potentials of the extracts on rat skeletal myoblast (L6) cells were also assessed and compared to that of podophyllotoxin. The screening method employed was medium-throughput, where the extracts were tested at two concentrations, at 0.8 and 4.8 mu g/ml (T brucei rhodesiense, L. donovani and Plasmodium falciparum), or at 1.6 and 9.7 mu g/ml (T cruzi and L6 cells). At 4.8 mu g/ml concentration, the branch extract of Pistacia vera (PV-BR) significantly inhibited (77.3%) the growth of L. donovani, whereas the dry leaf extract (PV-DL) was active against Plasmodium falciparum (60.6% inhibition). The IC50 values of these extracts were determined as 2.3 mu g/ml (PV-BR, L. donovani) and 3.65 mu g/ml (PV-DL, Plasmodium falciparum). None of the extracts possessed cytotoxicity on mammalian cells. (c) 2005 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.