To observe the effects of Danshen aqueous extract (DSAE) on the cerebral tissue and nerve stem cells in cerebral ischemia reperfusion (CIR) rats. The model rats were prepared by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery for 2 h and then by reperfusion. They were randomly divided into five groups: a control group, an CIR group and three DSAE-treated groups. As compared with the sham control group, there was significant increase (P < 0.05, P < 0.01) in the serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels, interleukin-10 (IL-10), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels, and IL-10 mRNA, TNF-α mRNA expression levels, function score, Infarct size, TUNEL + cell counts, cerebral transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) positive expression and cerebral neuron specific enolase (NSE) levels, and decrease in fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD) and death-associated protein (Daxx) positive expression levels in the CIR group. Compared with CIR group, DSAE treatment dose-dependently significantly decreased serum hs-CRP, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α levels, and IL-10 mRNA, TNF-α mRNA expression levels, function score, Infarct size, TUNEL + cell counts, cerebral TGF-β1 positive expression and cerebral NSE levels, and increase FADD and Daxx positive expression levels in the CIR + DSAE groups. Taken together, these results suggest that DSAE has a neuroprotective role in the CIR rats, which may be related to improvement of immunity function, proteins and genes expression.