In order to evaluate mechanisms of natural plant purslane herb aquenous extracts (PHAS) for neuroprotective, we assessed neuroprotective effects of PHAS at doses of 2.5, 5 and 10 mg/(kg day) on SD mice injected daily with D-gal (50 mg/(kg day)) by behavioral tests. PHAS-fed mice showed higher activity upon induction by new environmental stimuli, lower anxiety and higher novelty-seeking behavior in the open field tasks, and significantly improved learning and memory ability in step-through compared with D-gal-treated mice. We further examined the mechanisms involved in neuroprotective effects of PHAS on mouse brain. PHAS significantly increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and decreased the malondialdehyde (MDA) level. Meanwhile, PHAS also could up-regulate telomere lengths and telomerase activity in PHAS-fed groups. Furthermore, we examined the expression of p21(waf1) and p53 mRNA and protein in mouse brain by western blot analysis and real-time RT-PCR. We found that p21(waf1)was down-regulated by PHAS without changing the expression of p53. The results of this study suggested that the PHAS might be a primary target of p21(waf1)and the neuroprotective effect of PHAS might be carried out through a p21(waf1)-dependent and p53-independent pathway.