ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE Abarema cochliacarpos (Gomes) Barneby and Grimes (Fabaceae), known by the vulgar name of Babatenã, has been traditionally used in Northeast Brazil, as an anti-inflammatory remedy. Previous studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory and antiulcer effects in skin lesion, alcohol gastric ulcer and acute and chronic colitis. AIMS The present study was designed to evaluate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the butanolic fraction from A. cochliacarpos (BFAC) and its major flavonoid, (+)-catechin, in LPS-stimulated murine peritoneal macrophages. Moreover, we studied the role of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)s and NF-kB signaling pathways possibly involved in the beneficial effects. MATERIALS AND METHODS The quantification of the extract was carried out by ultra-performance liquid chromatography analysis. Cell viability was determined using SRB assay. Nitric oxide (NO) production was analyzed by Griess method and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) by fluorescence analysis. In addition, cyclooxygenase (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, MAPK activation and IkappaBalpha (IKBα) degradation, were determined by Western blot. RESULTS After BFAC characterization, (+)-catechin was revealed as its major constituent. Both BFAC and (+)-catechin, exerted significant anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects inhibiting LPS-induced intracellular ROS and NO production in peritoneal macrophages. Additionally, the extract but also its major component reduced pro-inflammatory proteins expression probably through c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 MAPK signaling pathways. CONCLUSION These data suggest that the beneficial effects of BFAC might be mediated, at least in part, by the presence of (+)-catechin. Conclusively our findings confirm the potential of A. cochliacarpos as a new therapeutic strategy for the management of inflammatory and oxidative stress-related diseases.