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Three phenolic glycosides isolated from the heartwood of Pterocarpus marsupium showed significant free radical and superoxide ion scavenging activity and antioxidant potential that were comparable to, or several folds higher than those of standard antioxidants, trolox and ascorbic acid. The effective concentrations of these compounds were far below their cytotoxic levels. Compound 3, which was characterized to be α-dihydroxychalcone-glycoside (α-DHC), was the most potent one. Subsequent studies demonstrated that α-DHC effectively reduced nitric oxide and cytokine production by the LPS stimulated RAW 264.7 mouse macrophage cell line. The compound effectively attenuated the expression of inflammation-mediating enzymes COX-2 and iNOS at the mRNA as well as protein levels in a concentration dependent manner. It prevented phosphorylation of all the three MAPKs (JNK, ERK, p38) and eventually blocked the activation of downstream elements contributing to inflammation. Phosphorylation of IκB-α and subsequent translocation of NF-κB into the nucleus were restricted, while the expression of stress responsive gene HO-1 was up-regulated. α-DHC targeted Keap-1 by modifying its cysteine thiols, dissociating it from Nrf-2 and facilitating nuclear entry of the latter; and this in turn induced HO-1 expression. Thus α-DHC exerts its anti-inflammatory activity in a dual manner: by down regulating MAPKs and restricting nuclear stabilization of NF-κB at one end, and by disrupting Nrf-2–Keap-1 complex on the other. In conclusion, the anti-inflammatory potential together with its high therapeutic index envisages α-DHC as a prospective candidate molecule for the development of therapeutic strategy against inflammatory disorders.α-DHC isolated from Pterocarpus marsupium has significant antioxidant potential.α-DHC inhibits NO, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α production in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells.α-DHC down-regulates of COX-2, iNOS expression in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells.α-DHC down-regulates MAPK phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB.α-DHC induces ARE-regulated gene expression via Keap-1 modification.