The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of α-eleostearic acid and punicic acid, two isomers of conjugated linolenic acid (CLnA) present in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) and snake gourd oil (Trichosanthes anguina), respectively, against oxidative stress, inflammatory challenge and aberration in erythrocyte morphology due to streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. Male albino rats were divided into four groups consisting of eight animals in each group. The first group served as control and diabetes was induced in rats in groups 2–4 by a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ. Moreover, rats in groups 3 and 4 were treated with 0·5 % of α-eleostearic acid and 0·5 % of punicic acid of the total lipid given, respectively, by oral administration once per d. After administration, CLnA isomers had significantly reduced oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation and restored antioxidant and pro-inflammatory enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, reduced glutathione, NO synthase level in pancreas, blood and erythrocyte lysate. The ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay of plasma showed that CLnA treatment caused improvement in the FRAP value which was altered after STZ treatment due to an increased level of free radicals. Expression of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6 in blood and expression of hepatic NF-κB (p65) increased significantly after STZ treatment due to increased inflammation which was restored with the administration of CLnA isomers. From the obtained results, it could be concluded that α-eleostearic acid and punicic acid showed potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity with varying effectivity.