We attempted to determine whether betanin (from natural pigments) that has anti-oxidant properties would be protective against paraquat-induced liver injury in Sprague-Dawley rats. Paraquat was injected intraperitoneally into rats to induce liver toxicity. The rats were randomly divided into four groups: a control group, a paraquat group, and two groups that received betanin at doses of 25 and 100mg/kg/day three days before and two days after they were administered paraquat. We evaluated liver histopathology, serum liver enzymatic activities, oxidative stress, cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A2 mRNA expression, and mitochondrial damage. The rats that were injected with paraquat incurred liver injury, evidenced by histological changes and elevated serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels; paraquat also led to oxidative stress, an increase of cytochrome P450 3A2 mRNA expression, and mitochondrial damage, indicated by mitochondrial membrane swelling, reduced mitochondrial cytochrome C, and apoptosis-inducing factor protein levels. Pathological damage and all of the above mentioned markers were lesser in the animals treated with betanin than in those who received paraquat alone. Betanin had a protective effect against paraquat-induced liver damage in rats. The mechanism of the protection appears to be the inhibition of CYP 3A2 expression and protection of mitochondria.