6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) produces neuronal cell damage by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS). The major mechanisms of protection against ROS-induced stress are inhibiting expression of ROS generating genes such as NADPH oxidase (NOX) and increasing expression of endogenous antioxidant genes such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). This study investigated whether a standardized Sanguisorbae Radix extract (SRE), a medical herb commonly used in Asian traditional medicine, has a protective effect on 6-OHDA-induced cell toxicity by regulating ROS in SH-SY5Y cells. SRE at 10 and 50 µg/mL significantly reduced 6-OHDA-induced cell damage dose dependently in the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and by Hoechst 33342 staining. SRE increased the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2)/Bcl-2-associated X ratio and decreased cytochrome C release and caspase-3 activity. SRE also abolished 6-OHDA-induced ROS by inhibiting NOX expression and by inducing HO-1 expression via NF-E2-related factor-2 activation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that SRE has protective effects against 6-OHDA-induced cell death by regulating ROS in SH-SY5Y cells. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.