In the present study, we isolated and characterized a water-soluble polysaccharide (GIP1) from the roots of Glycyrrhiza inflata. The goal of this study was to investigate the anti-tumor effect of GIP1 on the human oral cancer SCC-25 cell line and to explore the possible mechanism. Our experimental result showed that GIP1 (50, 100, and 200 μg/mL) specifically decreased cell viability of SCC-25 cells in a concentration-dependent manner via the induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, Western blot analysis showed that exposure of SCC-25 cells to GIP1 led to down-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic protein Bax, thus causing a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c to the cytosol. Moreover, we observed activation of the initiator caspaes-9, and the effector caspases-3, but not caspase-8. Concomitantly, GIP1-induced apoptosis can be blocked by caspase-3- or caspase-9-specific inhibitor, but not caspase-8 inhibitor. As well, the cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, as a caspae-3 substrate, occurred in SCC-25 cells following GIP1 treatment at three concentrations. Collectively, our results showed that the GIP1 induced apoptosis in SCC-25 cells involving a caspase-dependent mitochondrial signaling pathway.