The abnormal proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) contributes importantly to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and restenosis. Here, we investigated the effects of eupatolide (EuTL), a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the medicinal plant Inula britannica, on platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced proliferation and migration of primary rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs), as well as its underlying mechanisms. EuTL remarkably inhibited PDGF-induced proliferation and migration of RASMCs. Treatment of RASMCs with EuTL induced both protein and mRNA expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). SB203580 (a p38 inhibitor), SP600125 (a JNK inhibitor), U0126 (a MEK inhibitor) and LY294002 (a PI3K inhibitor) did not suppress EuTL-induced HO-1 expression; however, N-acetylcysteine (NAC, an antioxidant) blocked EuTL-induced HO-1 expression. Moreover, treatment of RASMCs with EuTL increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2); however, this translocation was also inhibited by NAC. NAC or inhibition of HO-1 significantly attenuated the inhibitory effects of EuTL on PDGF-induced proliferation and migration of RASMCs. Taken together, these findings suggest that EuTL could suppress PDGF-induced proliferation and migration of VSMCs through HO-1 induction via ROS-Nrf2 pathway and may be a potential HO-1 inducer for preventing or treating vascular diseases.