The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of chard (Beta vulgaris L. var. cicla) extract on serum urea and creatinine concentrations and on kidney tissue in normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. The extract was administered to rats at a dose of 2 g/kg every day for 28 days, 14 days after animals were made diabetic. On day 42, kidney tissue and blood samples were examined. Significant degenerative changes in kidney tissue of diabetic rats were observed, but in the group given chard extract, the morphology of kidney tissue was found to be nearly the same as the controls. Serum urea and creatinine levels significantly increased in the diabetic groups, but the chard extracts significantly reduced serum urea and creatinine levels. It is concluded that the extract of this plant may reduce serum urea and creatinine levels and confer a protective effect on the kidney of diabetic rats. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.