OBJECTIVES: The effects of a root extract of Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides on neuroinflammation in BV-2 microglia stimulated with LPS and hemozoin were investigated. METHODS: ELISA, enzyme immunoassay and Griess assay were used to evaluate levels of cytokines, PGE2 and NO in culture supernatants, respectively. Microglia-mediated neurotoxicity was evaluated using a BV-2 microglia-HT-22 neuron transwell co-culture. KEY FINDINGS: Treatment with Z. zanthoxyloides caused reduced elevated levels of TNFα, IL-6, IL-1β, NO and PGE2, while increasing the levels of IL-10. In addition, there were reduced levels of iNOS and COX-2 proteins. This was accompanied by a prevention of microglia-mediated damage to HT-22 mouse hippocampal neurons. Z. zanthoxyloides reduced elevated levels of phospho-IκB and phospho-p65, while preventing degradation of IκB protein and DNA binding of p65. Further mechanistic studies revealed that Z. zanthoxyloides reduced the levels of pro-IL-1β and IL-1β in hemozoin-activated BV-2 microglia. This was accompanied by a reduction in caspase-1 activity and NLRP3 protein expression. Bioassay-guided fractionation resulted in the isolation of skimmianine as an anti-inflammatory compound in Z. zanthoxyloides. CONCLUSION: This is the first report showing the inhibition of neuroinflammation in LPS- and hemozoin-activated BV-2 microglia by the root extract of Z. zanthoxyloides by targeting the activation of both NF-κB and NLRP3 inflammasome.