BACKGROUND Ginsenoside is the major bioactive component of ginseng, which has been proven to be a neuroprotective drug. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of ginsenoside in a diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat model. MATERIAL AND METHODS Twenty GK rats were randomly divided into a diabetic model (DM) group (n=10) and a ginsenoside + DM group (n=10); Wistar rats with the same age and body weight were used as the control (CON) group (n=10). Food and water intake, body weight, and blood fasting plasma glucose were measured. The Morris water maze test was used to detect learning and memory functions of the rats. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), and inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) in the hippocampus were analyzed after ginsenoside treatment. RESULTS The blood glucose, body weight, Morris correlation index, SOD, MDA, and other test results were increased in the diabetic rats. Ginsenoside ameliorated diabetic cognitive decline. CONCLUSIONS The possible mechanism was related to inhibiting brain oxidative/nitrosative damage and affecting the expression of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α.