Abstract Salvianolic acid A (Sal A), an important constituent of Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae (RSM), is effective for the treatment of myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary heart disease due to its potential in the improvement of acute myocardial ischemia. However, its content is very low in RSM. So it is obvious to find a rich source of Sal A or to improve its content by conversion of other related components into Sal A modifying reaction conditions. In this research we focused on the conversion of Sal B into Sal A in aqueous solutions of RSM by using different reaction conditions including pH, temperature, pressure and humidity. During the reactions, the contents of Sal A, Sal B and danshensu in the RSM were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LCMS). The results indicated that the conversion of Sal B into Sal A in RSM tissues under the conditions of a high temperature, high pressure and high humidity was efficient and thereby, was readily utilized to prepare rich Sal A materials in practice.