--- - |2 Summary This study was to investigate the effects and mechanisms of pectic polysaccharides (PP) extracted from Rauvolfia verticillata (Lour.) Baill. var. hainanensis Tsiang on dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)‐induced ulcerative colitis (UC). Eighty female BALB/c mice were randomly divided into four groups: Control, DSS, DSS + salicylazosulfapyridine (SASP), and DSS+ PP. The disease activity index (DAI), overall physical activity, and blood stool were monitored daily to evaluate severity of UC. Histological scores of the colon were observed. The expression of nuclear factor κB (NF‐κB) and mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPKs) pathways in colon tissues and bone marrow‐derived dendritic cells (DCs) was assessed by western blot, immunohistochemistry, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and real time polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR). Cytokines were measured by enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The overall physical activity, DAI and histological scores decreased in DSS+SASP and DSS+PP groups, compared with the DSS‐alone group. Also, tumour necrosis factor α (TNF‐α) and interleukin 6 (IL‐6) reduced significantly while the expression of IκBα was up‐regulated, extracellular signal‐regulated kinase (ERK), Jun N‐terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 were activated, in DSS+SASP and DSS+PP groups. PP inhibited activation of MAPKs and NF‐κB pathways in the bone‐marrow‐derived DCs. In conclusion, PP significantly ameliorated murine DSS‐induced UC model, via regulation of MAPKs and NF‐κB pathways in DCs. - 'Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, EarlyView. '