The pathogenesis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is considered to be associated with oxidative stress, mononuclear leukocyte recruitment and infiltration, and matrix production and/or matrix degradation, although the exact etiology and pathogenic pathways remain to be determined. Establishment of a pathogenesis-based therapeutic strategy for the disease is clinically warranted. Citral (3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal), a major active compound in Litseacubeba, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, can inhibit oxidant activity, macrophage and NF-κB activation. In the present study, first, we used a mouse model of FSGS with the features of glomerular epithelial hyperplasia lesions (EPHLs), a key histopathology index of progression of FSGS, peri-glomerular inflammation, and progressive glomerular hyalinosis/sclerosis. When treated with citral for 28 consecutive days at a daily dose of 200 mg/kg of body weight by gavage, the FSGS mice showed greatly reduced EPHLs, glomerular hyalinosis/sclerosis and peri-glomerular mononuclear leukocyte infiltration, suggesting that citral may be renoprotective for FSGS and act by inhibiting oxidative stress and apoptosis and early activating the Nrf2 pathway. Meanwhile, a macrophage model involved in anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities was employed and confirmed the beneficial effects of citral on the FSGS model.