Osteoclasts, derived from multipotent myeloid progenitor cells, play homeostatic roles in skeletal modeling and remodeling, but may also destroy bone in pathological conditions such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoclast development depends critically on a differentiation factor, the receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL). In this study, we found that the hexane soluble fraction of the common fig Ficus carica (HF6-FC) is a potent inhibitor of osteoclastogenesis in RANKL-stimulated RAW264.7 cells and in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs). HF6-FC exerts its inhibitory effects by suppression of p38 and NF-kappaB but activation of ERK. In addition, HF6-FC significantly decreased the expression of NFATc1 and c-Fos, the master regulator of osteoclast differentiation. The data indicate that components of HF6-FC may have therapeutic effects on bone-destructive processes such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and periodontal bone resorption.