A sensitive and reliable ultra-pressure liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS) was developed and validated for simultaneous quantification of six main bioactive components, i.e., calycosin-7-O-β-d-glucoside, ononin, calycosin, formononetin, astragaloside IV, and astragaloside II in rat plasma after oral administration of the 95 % ethanol extraction from Radix Astragali. Plasma samples were extracted with Waters OasisTM HLB 1 cc (30 mg) Extraction Cartridges (SPE) separated on an UPLC™ BEH C18 column and detected by MS with electro spray ionization interface in positive selective ion monitoring mode. Calibration curves offered linear ranges of two orders of magnitude with r 2 > 0.99. The method had the lower limit quantification of 1.30, 0.73, 1.17, 2.33, 0.63, and 0.83 ng/mL for ononin, calycosin, calycosin-7-O-β-d-glucoside, formononetin, astragaloside IV, and astragaloside II, respectively, with precision less than 10 %. The RSD of intra- and inter-day variations ranged from 1.66 to 6.46 and 3.39 to 6.58 %. This developed method was applied subsequently to pharmacokinetic studies of the six compounds in rats successfully. The proposed method was for the first time to compare the pharmacokinetic difference between calycosin-7-O-β-d-glucoside and calycosin in rat plasma, so as between ononin and formononetin, and studied to the astragaloside II pharmacokinetics in rat plasma.