Cavidine, a major alkaloid compound isolated from Corydalis impatiens, has various pharmacological effects but its effect on gastric ulcer has not been previously explored. The current study aimed to investigate the possible anti-ulcerogenic potential of cavidine in the model of ethanol-induced gastric ulcer. Mice received cavidine (1, 5 or 10 mg/kg, ig), cimetidine (CMD, 100 mg/kg, ig) or vehicle at 12 h and 1 h before absolute ethanol administration (0.5 mL/100 g), and animals were euthanized 3 h after ethanol ingestion. Gross and histological gastric lesions, biochemical, immunological and Western blot parameters were taken into consideration. The results showed that ethanol administration produced apparent mucosal injuries with morphological and histological damage, whereas cavidine pre-treatment reduced the gastric injuries. Cavidine pre-treatment also ameliorated the contents of malonaldehyde (MDA) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and increased the mucosa levels of glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), relative to the model group. Also cavidine was able to decrease the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), inhibit the up-regulation of cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and activation of Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. Taken together, these results indicated that cavidine exerts a gastroprotective effect against gastric ulceration, and the underlying mechanism might be associated with the stimulation of PGE2, reduction of oxidative stress, suppression of NF-κB expression and subsequent reduced COX-2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines.