Ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the colon, has a rising incidence worldwide. The known pathogenesis is multifactorial and involves genetic predisposition, epithelial barrier defects, dysregulated immune responses, and environmental factors. Nowadays, the drugs for UC include 5-aminosalicylic acid, steroids, and immunosuppressants. Long-term use of these drugs, however, may cause several side effects, such as hepatic and renal toxicity, drug resistance and allergic reactions. Moreover, the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the treatment of UC shows significantly positive effects, low recurrence rate, few side effects and other obvious advantages. This paper summarizes several kinds of active compounds used in the experimental research of anti-UC effects extracted from TCM, mainly including flavonoids, acids, terpenoids, phenols, alkaloids, quinones, and bile acids from some animal medicines. It is found that the anti-UC activities are mainly focused on targeting inflammation or oxidative stress, which is associated with increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-4, IL-10, SOD), suppressing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF- α, IL-1 β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-23, NF- κB, NO), reducing the activity of MPO, MDA, IFN- γ, and iNOS. This review may offer valuable reference for UC-related studies on the compounds from natural medicines.