The activities on the inhibition of NO on LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages were investigated in this work. A simple and sensitive method has been developed and validated for fingerprinting analysis of leaves of Acanthopanax gracilistylus W.W. Smith (AGS). The cytotoxicity and inhibition of NO on LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells of the extract and triterpenoids were determined. Optimal conditions of HPLC analysis were established as follows. The separation was performed with an ODS-C18 column at 30 degrees C, the detected wavelength was 210 nm, the flow rate was 1 mL/min, and the mobile phase consisted of acetonitrile (0.05% phosphoric acid) -0.05% phosphoric acid solution with gradient elution. Our results showed that impressic acid and acankoreaogenin was more effective on the inhibition of NO than the methanol extract and other compounds. There were seventeen peaks coexisted with similarities above 0.95 and nine lupane-triterpenoids including acankoreaogenin and impressic acid detected and identified. The result of anti-inflammatory activities provides a potential explanation for the use of AGS leaves as a herbal medicine in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Our results also show that acankoreanogenin and impressic acid may be potentially useful in developing new anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, the fingerprint chromatography clearly illustrated and confirmed the material basis for the anti-inflammatory activities of this plant.