Aim To explore the effects of Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinensis on vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotypic modulation and proliferation. Methods Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was used as a stimulus and the effects of Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinensis on VSMC differentiation, DNA synthesis and proto-oncogene expression in VSMC induced by bFGF were observed. Results bFGF could downregulate the expression of smooth muscle (SM) α-actin, induce the expression of smooth muscle embryonic myosin heavy chain and osteopontin, stimulate the expression of c-jun gene and promote the DNA synthesis. Both Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinensis could inhibit VSMC phenotypic modulation and DNA synthesis induced by bFGF, and result in the effective inhibition of VSMC proliferation. The mechanisms were related with the inhibition of c-jun gene expression stimulated by bFGF. Compared with Astragalus membranaceus, Angelica sinensis was more effective in inhibiting the VSMC phenotypic conversion and proliferation. Conclusions All results above reflected multi-site effects of Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinensis on VSMC phenotypic conversion and proliferation, and revealed their new pharmacological mechanisms.