β-Caryophyllene (BCP), a naturally occurring plant sesquiterpene, was examined for anti-inflammatory activity in a mouse model of experimental colitis induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Colitis was induced by exposing male BALB/c mice to 5% DSS in drinking water for 7 days. BCP in doses of 30 and 300 mg/kg was administered orally once a day, beginning concurrently with exposure to DSS. The body weight and colon length were measured, and histological damage and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity as well as inflammatory cytokines were assessed in both serum and colonic tissue after 7 days of treatment with DSS. The DSS treatment damaged the colonic tissue, increased MPO activity and inflammatory cytokines, lowered the body weight, and shortened the length of the colon. Oral administration of BCP at 300 mg/kg significantly suppressed the shortening of colon length and slightly offset the loss of body weight. BCP treatment (300 mg/kg) also significantly reduced the inflammation of colon and reversed the increase in MPO activity that had been induced by exposure to DSS. Further, BCP significantly suppressed the serum level of IL-6 protein (a 55% reduction) as well as the level of IL-6 mRNA in the tissue. These results demonstrate that BCP ameliorates DSS-induced experimental colitis, and may be useful in the prevention and treatment of colitis.