As a Chinese traditional herbal medicine, leaves of Platycladus orientalis (Linnaeus) Franco (LPO) are used to treat coughs, excessive mucus secretion, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and asthma, etc. The experiments were carried out to investigate their anti-inflammatory properties and mechanisms, which could support the Chinese traditional uses of treating inflammatory airway diseases. The anti-inflammatory activities of the chloroform fraction (CHL) and pure compounds of LPO were evaluated for their abilities to inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes in vitro, and production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and nitric oxide in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Furthermore, the arachidonic acid metabolites, stimulated by calcium ionophore A23187, were also determined by HPLC. For the first time, the assays of eicosanoids in intact cells showed that the CHL, hinokiol, and acacetin had significant inhibitory effects on 5-hydroxy-eicosa-tetra-enoic acid (5-HETE) and leukotriene B(4) (LTB4) formations. And cell-free enzyme assays (5-lipoxygenase, leukotriene A(4)-hydrolase, cyclooxgenase-2) demonstrated the potent inhibitory effects of the CHL, hinokiol and acacetin on 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Then, the inhibitions of the CHL, hinokiol on NO biosynthesis and the inhibitions of the CHL, 8(14),15-pimaradien-3β,18-diol, and hinokiol on TNF-α release were also confirmed in the RAW264.7 murine macrophages. The data indicate that the inhibitory effects of the CHL and its components (hinokiol and acacetin) on 5-LOX contribute to the anti-inflammatory activity of LPO. Moreover, the CHL and its components also show beneficial effects on NO and TNF-α production. Consequently, these results provide a rationale for LPO's traditional applications in the treatment of inflammatory airway diseases.