OBJECTIVE To investigate the effects of Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) on melanocytes and tyrosinase activity. METHODS MTT method and cleavage by NaOH were employed to measure the proliferation and melanin synthesis of melanocytes, respectively. Tyrasinase activity assessment was performed by measuring the rate of oxidation of DL-dopa. RESULTS Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) was found to promote melanocytic proliferation (P < 0.05), resulting in a statistically significant increase in the cell counts (P < 0.05). It also enhanced melanin synthesis (P < 0.05) and tryosinase activity (P < 0.05) of the melanocytes, and the most potent effects were achieved at the concentration of 1 g/L (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) promotes melanocytic proliferation, melanin synthesis and tyrosinase activity, which may be the mechanism for validating its clinical use in the treatment of skin pigmentation.