The present study investigated the effects of Forsythoside B on an experimental model of sepsis induced by caecal ligation and puncture (CLP) in rats and elucidated the potential mechanism in cultured RAW 264.7 cells. Results showed that Forsythoside B concentration-dependently down-regulated the levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and high-mobility group-box 1 protein (HMGB1) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 cells, inhibited the IκB kinase (IKK) pathway and modulated nuclear factor (NF)- κB. Intravenous injection (i.v.) of Forsythoside B alone or plus Imipenem reduced serum levels of TNF-α, IL-6, HMGB1, triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM-1) and endotoxin, while the serum level of IL-10 was up-regulated and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in lung, liver and small intestine was reduced. Meanwhile, i.v. of Forsythoside B alone or plus Imipenem reduced CLP-induced lethality in rats. These data indicated that the antisepsis effect of Forsythoside B is mediated by decreasing local and systemic levels of a wide spectrum of inflammatory mediators. Its antisepsis mechanism may be that Forsythoside B binds to LPS and reduces the biological activity of serum LPS, and inhibits NF-κB activition. Our studies enhance the case for the use of Forsythoside B in sepsis. Forsythoside B itself has promise as a therapy for the treatment of sepsis in humans. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.