Background: Chinese medicine has been proposed as a novel approach to the prevention of metabolic disorders such as obesity. Danggui Buxue decoction, a decoction prepared from Huangqi (Astragali Radix) and Danggui (Angelicae Sinensis Radix), has been used to nourish vitality and enhance blood circulation in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the effect of Danggui Buxue decoction on obesity is still primarily unknown. Methods: Cell proliferation, differentiation, and apolipoprotein-IV transcription were investigated to explore the function of Danggui Buxue decoction by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, alkaline phosphatase assay, and luciferase assay, respectively. Results: Danggui Buxue decoction promoted cell growth by up to 15% (P = 0.034) and induced cell differentiation by up to 38% (P = 0.006) at 0.3 mg/mL. Moreover, Danggui Buxue decoction enhanced the transcription of apolipoprotein-IV by 2.4 times (P = 0.027), activating its promoter by 28.9% (P = 0.031) at 0.3 mg/mL. In addition, Danggui Buxue decoction functioned in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusion: These results suggest that Danggui Buxue decoction promotes cell differentiation by enhancing apolipoprotein-IV transcription and alkaline phosphatase activity, and it may also have a potential anti-obesity effect because apolipoprotein-IV
transcription is closely related to the reduction of food intake.