Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) belongs to the most elaborate and extensive systems of plant-based healing. The herb Northern Ban Lan (Isatis tinctoria) is famous for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. Although numerous components isolated from I. tinctoria have been characterized so far, their modes of action have remained unclear. Here, we show that extracts from I. tinctoria exert anti-microtubular activity. Using time-lapse microscopy in living tobacco BY-2 (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Bright Yellow 2) cells expressing green fluorescent protein-tubulin, we use activity-guided fractionation to screen out the biologically active compounds of I. tinctoria. Among 54 fractions obtained from either leaves or roots of I. tinctoria by methanol (MeOH/H2O 8:2), or ethyl acetate extraction, one specific methanolic root fraction was selected, because it efficiently and rapidly eliminated microtubules. By combination of further purification with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry most of the bioactivity could be assigned to the glucosinolate compound glucobrassicin. Glucobrassicin can also affect microtubules and induce apoptosis in HeLa cells. In the light of these findings, the antiviral activity of Northern Ban Lan is discussed in the context of microtubules being hijacked by many viral pathogens for cell-to-cell spread.