The effects of pretreatment with Dang-Gui Buxue Tang (DBT, a decoction of Astragali and Angelica roots) and its component herb extracts on myocardial ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury were examined in rats ex vivo. DBT and its component herb extracts could protect against myocardial IR injury in a dose-dependent manner. The more potent cardioprotection afforded by DBT pretreatment than that of a mixture of Astragali and Angelica root extracts was associated with a much higher extraction yield of active ingredients from Angelica root in the herbal decoction. The high level of active ingredients might increase their bioavailability after oral administration. DBT pretreatment could enhance myocardial mitochondrial as well as red blood cell (RBC) glutathione status, thereby increasing their resistance to oxidative stress-induced injury in rats. The measurement of RBC glutathione status may serve as a useful index for the antioxidant effect produced by DBT treatment in human subjects.