The aim of the present study was to examine the antioxidative activity of (+)-lariciresinol (LRSL), an optically active lignan isolated from Rubia philippinensis in several in vitro assays. LRSL was also subjected to evaluate its inhibitory effect against the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in murine macrophage (RAW 264.7) cells. The results showed that LRSL possessed very strong radical scavenging activity and reducing power, as well as inhibited ROS generation in a dose-dependent manner without showing any cytotoxicity. The transcriptional and translational levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) were markedly higher in the sample treated group. LRSL treatment also increased the transcriptional and translational activities of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf-2) with a corresponding increase in the transcriptional and translational activities of the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). LRSL activated p38 and treatments with SB239063 (a p38 inhibitor) suppressed the LRSL-induced activation of Nrf2, resulting in a decrease in HO-1 expression. Collectively, the data demonstrated that LRSL has potent antioxidative activity, decreasing ROS generation in RAW 264.7 cells and increasing the transcriptional and translational levels of antioxidant enzymes by activating Nrf2-mediated HO-1 induction via p38 signaling.