The sedative, anticonvulsant and analgesic activity of ursolic acid, a terpenoid bioassay-isolated from Nepeta sibthorpii Bentham, was evaluated in mice. The oral administration of ursolic acid (2.3 mg/kg) produced a significant depressant effect on CNS by reducing spontaneous motor activity and the number and lethality of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced seizures. Two models of nociception, the writhing test and the hot plate test, were also used to examine the analgesic effect of ursolic acid. At a dose of 2.3 mg/kg, ursolic acid caused an inhibition of acetic acid-induced abdominal constriction, but was inactive in the hot plate test. Treatment at a higher dose (20 mg/kg) significantly increased the reaction time in the hot plate test. This effect, reversed by naloxone, evidently involves opioid receptors, but the analgesic activity of ursolic acid may be related also to the antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties of this compound. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.