Notoginsenoside (NG)-R1 is one of the main bioactive compounds from Panax notoginseng (PN) root, which is well known in the prescription for mediating the micro-circulatory hemostasis in human. In this article, we mainly discuss NG-R1 in metabolism and the biological activities, including cardiovascular protection, neuro-protection, anti-diabetes, liver protection, gastrointestinal protection, lung protection, bone metabolism regulation, renal protection, and anti-cancer. The metabolites produced by deglycosylation of NG-R1 exhibit higher permeability and bioavailability. It has been extensively verified that NG-R1 may ameliorate ischemia-reperfusion (IR)-induced injury in cardiovascular and neuronal systems mainly by upregulating the activity of estrogen receptor α-dependent phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) and nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (NRF2) pathways and downregulating nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. However, no specific targets for NG-R1 have been identified. Expectedly, NG-R1 has been used as a main bioactive compound in many Traditional Chinese Medicines clinically, such as Xuesaitong, Naodesheng, XueShuanTong, ShenMai, and QSYQ. These suggest that NG-R1 exhibits a significant potency in drug development.