The inflammation and oxidative stress of bone marrow-derived proangiogenic cells (PACs), also named endothelial progenitor cells, triggered by hyperglycemia contributes significantly to vascular dysfunction. There is supporting evidence that the consumption of red yeast rice (RYR; Monascus purpureus-fermented rice) reduces the vascular complications of diabetes; however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of RYR extract in PACs, focusing particularly on the role of a potent antioxidative enzyme, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). We found that treatment with RYR extract induced nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor nuclear translocation and HO-1 mRNA and protein levels in PACs. RYR extract inhibited high-glucose-induced (30 mM) PAC senescence and the development of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a dose-dependent manner. The HO-1 inducer cobalt protoporphyrin IX also decreased high-glucose-induced cell senescence and oxidative stress, whereas the HO-1 enzyme inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin IX and HO-1 small interfering RNA significantly reversed RYR extract-caused inhibition of senescence and reduction of oxidative stress in high-glucose-treated PACs. These results suggest that RYR extract serves as alternative and complementary medicine in the treatment of these diseases, by inducing HO-1, thereby decreasing the vascular complications of diabetes.