The spontaneous recovery of function after injury in the adult central nervous system is limited due to the several proteins, such as Nogo-A that have repulsive or inhibitory effects on growing neuritis. The Chinese herbal medicine extraction Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS) injection has been widely used and effective in repairing the function of impaired nerves, but the mechanism of this herbal medicine is still poorly understood. This project evaluated the effect of Panax notoginseng saponins on neurological functional recovery and on the expression of Nogo-A, NgR and p75 at 7, 14 and 28 d after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats and also oxygen-glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R) model on SH-SY5Y cells. We found that the expression of Nogo-A, NgR and p75 of rats receiving MCAO surgery increased on the 7th day, reached a peak on the 14th or 28th day and maintained high levels and Panax notoginseng saponins significantly decreased these expressions. This may be the mechanism of Panax notoginseng saponins that contributes to the recovery of nerve function, which plays an important role in brain protection after cerebral infarction.