Background Place of origin is an important factor when determining the quality and authenticity of Angelica sinensis for medicinal use. It is important to trace the origin and confirm the regional characteristics of medicinal products for sustainable industrial development. Effectively tracing and confirming the material's origin may be accomplished by detecting stable isotopes and mineral elements. Methods We studied 25 A. sinensis samples collected from three main producing areas (Linxia, Gannan, and Dingxi) in southeastern Gansu Province, China, to better identify its origin. We used inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to determine eight mineral elements (K, Mg, Ca, Zn, Cu, Mn, Cr, Al) and three stable isotopes ([delta].sup.13 C, [delta].sup.15 N, [delta].sup.18 O). Principal component analysis (PCA), partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) were used to verify the validity of its geographical origin. Results K, Ca/Al, [delta].sup.13 C, [delta].sup.15 N and [delta].sup.18 O are important elements to distinguish A. sinensis sampled from Linxia, Gannan and Dingxi. We used an unsupervised PCA model to determine the dimensionality reduction of mineral elements and stable isotopes, which could distinguish the A. sinensis from Linxia. However, it could not easily distinguish A. sinensis sampled from Gannan and Dingxi. The supervised PLS-DA and LDA models could effectively distinguish samples taken from all three regions and perform cross-validation. The cross-validation accuracy of PLS-DA using mineral elements and stable isotopes was 84%, which was higher than LDA using mineral elements and stable isotopes. Conclusions The PLS-DA and LDA models provide a theoretical basis for tracing the origin of A. sinensis in three regions (Linxia, Gannan and Dingxi). This is significant for protecting consumers' health, rights and interests.