In the present study, we investigated the effects of Acori graminei rhizoma (AGR) on learning and memory for the Morris water maze task and on the central cholinergic system of the rats with excitotoxic medial septum (MS) lesion. On the water maze test, the rats were trained to find a platform that was in a fixed position during 6 days and then they received a 60 s probe trial in which the platform was removed from the pool on the 7th day. Ibotenic lesioning of the MS impaired the performance on the maze test and it caused degeneration of choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholine esterase in the hippocampus, which are markers of the central cholinergic system. Daily administrations of AGR (100 mg kg−1, i.p.) for 21 consecutive days produced reversals of the ibotenic acid-induced deficit in learning and memory. These treatments also reduced the loss of cholinergic immunoreactivity in the hippocampus that was induced by ibotenic acid. These results demonstrated that AGR ameliorated learning and memory deficits through their effects on the central nervous system, and neuroprotection was partly evaluated through the effect of AGR on the cholinergic system. Our studies suggest that AGR can possibly be used as treatment for Alzheimer's disease.