Hericium erinaceus (HE) has been used both as a traditional Chinese medicine and home remedy for treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastritis. EP-1, a purified polysaccharide isolated from HE mycelium, has recently been identified as the active component responsible for HE anti-gastritis activity. Because oxidative stress has been implicated as a pathogenic cause of gastritis and gastric ulcers, EP-1 antioxidant properties were systematically examined in vitro using the human gastric mucosal epithelial cell line, GES-1. Results showed that EP-1 possessed higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and 2-3 times higher ability to scavenge 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), superoxide and hydroxyl radicals than a hot water extract of commercially available HE fruiting body. A crude mycelial polysaccharide (CMPS) extract of HE, from which EP-1 was purified, showed slightly stronger radical scavenging activity and ORAC than EP-1, with the exception of DPPH-scavenging activity. Antioxidant activities of these extracts were further studied using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-abused GES-1 cells; EP-1 dose-dependently preserved cell viability of abused cells as assessed via MTT assay. Moreover, FACS analysis revealed that EP-1 prevented H2O2-induced apoptotic cell death by inhibiting activation of apoptotic cellular signals within mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathways. CMPS also prevented H2O2-induced oxidative stress, but to a lesser degree than did EP-1, even though CMPS exhibited comparable or stronger in vitro antioxidant activity than did EP-1.