Extract from fruits of Nandina domestica THUNBERG (NDE) has been used to improve cough and breathing difficulty in Japan for many years. To explore whether NDE may alleviate respiratory inflammation, we investigated its effect on expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and production of prostaglandin E₂ (PGE₂) in human pulmonary epithelial A549 cells in culture. Treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 6 µg/mL) resulted in an increase of COX-2 expression and PGE₂ production in A549 cells. Both the LPS-induced COX-2 expression and PGE₂ production were significantly inhibited by NDE (1-10 µg/mL) in a concentration-dependent manner. NDE did not affect COX-1 expression nor COX activity. These results suggest that NDE downregulates LPS-induced COX-2 expression and inhibits PGE₂ production in pulmonary epithelial cells. Furthermore, higenamine and nantenine, two major constituents responsible for tracheal relaxing effect of NDE, did not mimic the inhibitory effect of NDE on LPS-induced COX-2 expression in A549 cells. To identify active constituent(s) of NDE responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect, NDE was introduced in a polyaromatic absorbent resin column and stepwise eluted to yield water fraction, 20% methanol fraction, 40% methanol fraction, 99.8% methanol fraction, and 99.5% acetone fraction. However, none of these five fractions alone inhibited LPS-induced COX-2 expression. On the other hand, exclusion of water fraction from NDE abolished the inhibitory effect of NDE on LPS-induced COX-2 expression. These results suggest that constituent(s) present in water fraction is required but not sufficient for the anti-inflammatory activity of NDE, which may result from interactions among multiple constituents.