Cerebral ischemia is known to produce brain damage and related behavioral deficits including memory. Recently, accumulating lines of evidence showed that dietary enrichment with nutritional antioxidants could reduce brain damage and improve cognitive function. In this study, possible protective effect of Zingiber officinale, a medicinal plant reputed for neuroprotective effect against oxidative stress-related brain damage, on brain damage and memory deficit induced by focal cerebral ischemia was elucidated. Male adult Wistar rats were administrated an alcoholic extract of ginger rhizome orally 14 days before and 21 days after the permanent occlusion of right middle cerebral artery (MCAO). Cognitive function assessment was performed at 7, 14, and 21 days after MCAO using the Morris water maze test. The brain infarct volume and density of neurons in hippocampus were also determined. Furthermore, the level of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in cerebral cortex, striatum, and hippocampus was also quantified at the end of experiment. The results showed that cognitive function and neurons density in hippocampus of rats receiving ginger rhizome extract were improved while the brain infarct volume was decreased. The cognitive enhancing effect and neuroprotective effect occurred partly via the antioxidant activity of the extract. In conclusion, our study demonstrated the beneficial effect of ginger rhizome to protect against focal cerebral ischemia.