Corydalis yanhusuo W.T. Wang (YHS) is a traditional Chinese herb widely prescribed for promoting blood circulation, reinforcing vital energy and alleviating pain. Our previous studies showed that an ethanol extract of YHS inhibits metastasis of breast cancer cells in vitro. In the present study, the anti-proliferative effect of the extract was determined by MTT assay and the LDH release was measured with a commercial kit. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) were monitored by CM- H(2)DCF-DA and JC-1 staining, respectively. Cell cycle was analyzed with propidium iodide (PI) staining by flow cytometry and protein expressions were measured by Western blotting. The YHS extract significantly inhibited MCF-7 cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Significant increase of ROS formation and decrease of ΔΨm were observed. Furthermore, it induced MCF-7 cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phases. In addition, the p-cdc-2/cdc-2 protein expression ratio was increased while Rb and p21 protein expressions were decreased. The YHS extract inhibited MCF-7 proliferation by inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest, which might be mediated by inducing ROS formation, decreasing ΔΨm and regulating cell cycle related protein expressions.