The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of the fucoxanthin (FUCO) alone and in combination with glucosamine hydrochloride (GAH) on carrageenan/kaolin-induced inflammatory arthritis model in rats and to explore its underlying mechanisms. Joint swelling, muscle weight ratio (%), histopathological examination and scoring, and proteoglycan degradation were examined. Pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis (TNF-α) levels, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and inducible nitric oxide synthase(iNOS) protein expression and nitric oxide (NO) level in knee synovial tissue extract were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, western blotting analysis, and Griess reagent assay, respectively. FUCO and FUCO + GAH not only may significantly reduce degrees of knee joint swelling and prevent against muscle atrophy, but also may significantly attenuate inflammation in synovial tissue, cartilage erosion, and proteoglycan loss. The efficacies of FUCO + GAH were stronger than that of GAH or FUCO. FUCO alone and FUCO + GAH can significantly inhibit upregulation of COX-2 and iNOS protein expressions, decrease of IL-1β and TNF-α levels, and reduce NO production in knee synovial tissue extract. These results indicated that FUCO is an effective anti-arthritis agent through an antiinflammation mechanism. FUCO may enhance therapeutic effect of GAH on rat arthritis through mechanism of antiinflammation. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.