Daidzein, a plant extract, has antioxidant activity. It is hypothesized, in this study, that daidzein exhibits neuroprotective effects on cerebral ischemia. Rat models of middle cerebral artery occlusion were intraperitoneally administered daidzein. Biochemical and immunohistochemical tests showed that superoxide dismutase and nuclear respiratory factor 1 expression levels in the brain tissue decreased after ischemia and they increased obviously after daidzein administration; malondialdehyde level and apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase caspase-3 and caspase-9 immunoreactivity in the brain tissue increased after ischemia and they decreased obviously after daidzein administration. Hematoxylin-eosin staining and luxol fast blue staining results showed that intraperitoneal administration of daidzein markedly alleviated neuronal damage in the ischemic brain tissue. These findings suggest that daidzein exhibits neuroprotective effects on ischemic brain tissue by decreasing oxygen free radical production, which validates the aforementioned hypothesis.