Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is involved in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the present study, we investigated the role of IL-6 in osteoarthritis (OA) patients and the effects of the stilbenoids monomethyl pinosylvin and pinosylvin on the expression of the cartilage matrix components aggrecan and collagen II and the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 in human OA chondrocytes. Synovial fluid and plasma samples were obtained from 100 patients with severe OA [BMI 29.7 (8.3) kg/m2, age 72 (14) years, median (IQR); 62/38 females/males] undergoing total knee replacement surgery. IL-6 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) concentrations in synovial fluid and plasma were measured by immunoassay. The effects of pinosylvin on the expression of IL-6, aggrecan, and collagen II were studied in primary cultures of human OA chondrocytes. IL-6 levels in synovial fluid from OA patients [119.8 (193.5) pg/mL, median (IQR)] were significantly increased as compared to the plasma levels [3.1 (2.7) pg/mL, median (IQR)] and IL-6 levels in synovial fluid were associated with MMPs and radiographic disease severity. Natural stilbenoids monomethyl pinosylvin and pinosylvin increased aggrecan expression and suppressed IL-6 production in OA chondrocytes. The results propose that IL-6 is produced within OA joints and has an important role in the pathogenesis of OA. Stilbenoid compounds monomethyl pinosylvin and pinosylvin appeared to have disease-modifying potential in OA chondrocytes.