In the present study, we isolated and characterized a homogenous polysaccharide (GIAP1) from the alkaline extract of the roots of Glycyrrhiza inflata. The anti-tumor activity of GIAP1 toward human oral cancer SCC-25 cells and the underlying mechanisms were also examined in vitro. GIAP1 dose-dependently inhibited the proliferation of SCC-25 cells via inducing apoptosis. Moreover, GIAP1 downregulated Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, disrupted the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and caused the release of cytochrome c to cytosol. Besides, GIAP1 triggered activation of capase-3 and caspase-9, as well as the degradation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). In addition, the caspase-3 or caspase-9 inhibitor significantly inhibited GIAP1-induced apoptosis in SCC-25 cells. Collectively, we can conclude that the GIAP1 induces apoptosis in SCC-25 cells via a mitochondrial pathway.