Rotavirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis among young children worldwide. However, agents specifically designed to treat rotavirus infection have not been developed yet. In this study, the anti-rotavirus and anti-inflammatory effects of genipin, a chemical compound found in the fruit of Gardenia jasminoides, were evaluated. Genipin had an antiviral effect against the human rotavirus Wa and SA-11 strains in vitro, and it inhibited two distinct stages of the viral replication cycle: attachment and penetration (early stage) in pre-treatment and assembly and release (late stage) in post-treatment. Additionally, genipin downregulated nitric oxide synthase and pro-inflammatory cytokines in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW264.7 cells and rotavirus-infected Caco-2 cells. Oral administration of genipin before and after viral infection with the murine rotavirus epidemic diarrhea of infant mice strain led to a reduced duration of diarrhea and faecal viral shedding and to decreased destruction of the enteric epithelium. Genipin could have potential as a natural compound with preventive and therapeutic effects against infection and colitis caused by rotavirus.