Aims: Estrogen plays a protective role in atherosclerosis. Our preliminary work demonstrated that the active conformation of Tanshinone IIA(TanIIA) is similar to the 17ß-estradiol and it can bind to the estrogen receptor. Here, we hypothesized that Tanshinone IIA might have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects in atherosclerosis, mediated through estrogen receptor activation. Methods: Subjects for this study were 120 apoE-/- female mice and 20 C57/BL female mice. The apoE-/- mice were ovariectomized (OVX) and the C57/BL mice were sham ovariectomized. The sham OVX mice were maintained on a normal diet (NOR) group. The OVX apoE-/- mice were fed a high fat diet and randomly divided into 6 groups: Model (MOD) group which was fed a high fat diet only, E2 group were given estrogen (E2) 0.13mg/kg/d; E2+ICI group were given E2:0.13mg/kg/d and ICI182780:65mg/kg/m; TLD group (TanIIA low dose) were given TanIIA: 30mg/kg/d; THD group (TanIIA high dose) were given TanIIA:60mg/kg/d; and TLD+ICI group were given TanIIA 30mg/kg/d and ICI182780 65mg/kg/m. After three months of treatment, the aorta and the blood of the mice from each group was collected. The aorta were used for testing the lipid deposition by using hematoxylin and eosin(HE) and oil red O staining and for testing the expression of p-ERK1/2 by Western blot. The blood was used for testing the serum cholesterol, superoxide dismutase (SOD), methane dicarboxylic aldehyde (MDA), nuclear factor kappa (NF-κB), soluble intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), activating protein-1 (AP-1), E-selectin and 17ß-estradiol in serum. Results: Tanshinone IIA significantly reduced the lipid deposition in aorta, decreased the levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), MDA, NF-κB, sICAM-1, AP-1, and E-selectin in serum but increased the levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) and SOD in serum. Tanshinone IIA also suppressed the expression of p-ERK1/2. Tanshinone IIA had no effect of level of serum 17ß-estradiol levels. All of the effects of Tanshinone IIA were similar to estrogen and were inhibited by the estrogen receptor antagonist ICI182780. Conclusion: Tanshinone IIA may play an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress role in OVX atherosclerotic apoE-/- mice by activating the estrogen receptor through the ERK signaling pathway. Therefore, Tanshinone IIA, as a phytoestrogen, could be used for estrogen replacement therapy for cardiovascular disease of postmenopausal women.