Schisandrin is the main active ingredient isolated from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis Baill. Recent studies have demonstrated that schisandrin exhibits anti-oxidative effects in vivo. In the present study, the effect of schisandrin on plasma nitrite concentration in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated mice was evaluated. It also significantly inhibited carrageenan-induced paw edema and acetic acid-induced vascular permeability in mice. Furthermore, schisandrin had a protective effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sepsis. In vitro,our results are the first that show that the anti-inflammatory properties of schisandrin result from the inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) production, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, which in turn results from the inhibition of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activities in a RAW 264.7 macrophage cell line.