The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) has provided the rationale for the current pharmacotherapy of this disease, in an attempt to downgrade the cognitive decline caused by cholinergic deficits. Nevertheless, the search for potent and long-acting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors that exert minimal side effects to AD patients is still an ongoing effort. Amazonian communities use traditional remedies prepared with Ptychopetalum olacoides (PO, Olacaceae) roots for treating various central nervous system conditions, including those associated with aging. The fact that PO ethanol extract (POEE) has been found to facilitate memory retrieval in the step down procedure in young and aged mice prompt us to evaluate its effects on AChE activity in memory relevant brain areas. POEE significantly inhibited AChE activity in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner in rat frontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum; a significant inhibition was also found in these same brain areas of aged (14 months) mice after acute administration of POEE (100 mg/kg ip). We propose that such AChE inhibitory activity is a neurochemical correlate of a number of therapeutic properties traditionally claimed for P. olacoides, particularly those associated with cognition.