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Dehydrozingerone protects hemoglobin from nitrite-induced oxidation to methemoglobin. The protection was observed when added before or during, and not after the autocatalytic stage of the oxidation. The ability of dehydrozingerone to scavenge oxygen free radicals may be responsible for the activity since these radicals are implicated in promoting the auticatalytic stage of the oxidation of hemoglobin by nitrite. The acetyl derivative of dehydrozingerone was also active in inhibiting the oxodation indication that the phenolic group is not essential for the activity.