Magnolol, the main constituent of Magnolia officinalis, has been shown to produce antidepressant-like effect in rodents. Growing evidence shows that neuroinflammation, oxidative stress and neuroendocrine contribute to the pathogenesis of major depression. Here, the aim of this present study was to determine whether magnolol affected these systems in mice exposed to chronic mild stress (CMS). The ameliorative effect of magnolol on depressive-like symptoms was investigated through behavioral tests, including the classical sucrose preference and forced swimming tests. The behavioral evaluation showed that magnolol reversed the depressive-like deficits both in sucrose preference test and forced swimming test. The elevation of prefrontal cortex pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was decreased by magnolol. Consistently, the microglia activation by CMS was also alleviated by magnolol. In addition, the hyperactivity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis induced by CMS was attenuated by magnolol. Moreover, the increased lipid peroxidation such as malonaldehyde (MDA) and decreased antioxidant defense enzymes including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) induced by CMS were also reversed by magnolol. These findings suggest that administration of magnolol could alleviate depressive-like behaviors in CMS mice that are mediated by suppressing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in the prefrontal cortex.