As a major active component extracted from traditional Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F, triptolide exhibits multiple pharmacological effects. Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved intracellular catabolic process involved in cytoplasmic materials degradation. Autophagic dysfunction contributes to the pathologies of many human diseases, which makes it a promising therapeutic target. Recent studies have shown that triptolide exerts neuroprotection, anti-tumor activities, organ toxicity, and podocyte protection by modulating autophagy. This article highlights the current information on triptolide-modulated autophagy, analyzes the possible pathways involved, and describes the crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis modulated by triptolide, in hope of providing implications for the roles of autophagy in pharmacological effects of triptolide and expanding its novel usage as an autophagy modulator.