BACKGROUND : Swertia chirayita, has been commonly used under the name "Zang-yin-chen" for the treatment of liver infections, inflammation, abdominal pain, and bacterial infection in traditional Tibetan medicine. However, the bioactive components with anti-inflammatory activities and underlying mechanisms remain poorly evaluated. METHODS : Repeated column chromatography yielded two main xanthones from petroleum ether (PE) and ethyl acetate fractions of whole plants of S. chirayita, and their structures were determined as bellidifolin (1) and swerchirin (2) on the basis of spectroscopic data and literature analysis. The anti-inflammatory activities and mechanisms of anti-inflammation of these two isolated xanthones were determined via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 murine macrophages in vitro. RESULTS : Anti-inflammation assay demonstrated that 1 and 2 inhibit the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and TNF-α in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Xanthone 1 also potently inhibited the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by suppressing the protein expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Western blot showed that the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and p38 MAPKs were remarkably attenuated by 1 in a concentration-dependent manner. Particularly, Compound 1 suppressed the phosphorylation of the inhibitor κB kinase-β (IKK-β), Akt, and p65 subunit of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB). CONCLUSIONS : The potent suppressive effects of 1 from S. chirayita on inflammatory mediators by blocking the expression of COX-2 and phosphorylation of Akt, IKK-β, MAPK and NF-κB, activation in LPS-stimulated macrophages suggest that 1 can be a preventive therapeutic candidate for the management of inflammatory-mediated immune disorders.