In experiments on young (aged 3 months) and old (aged 26 months) rats, using some conditioned-reflex methods with punishment or positive reinforcement for active and passive avoidance (shuttle-box, step-down, step-through, and water maze), we studied the effects of the standardized extracts of Panax ginseng (G115), Ginkgo biloba (GK501) and their combination Gincosan (PHL-00701). The extracts were administered orally for 7 days before training at three increasing doses: 17, 50, and 150 mg/kg for G115; 10, 30, and 90 mg/kg for GK501; and 27, 80, and 240 mg/kg for PHL-00701. The two extracts and their combination improved the retention of learned behavior. This effect varied considerably with the extracts, with the dose and with the behavioral method used. The results suggest that the Panax ginseng G115 and the Ginkgo biloba GK501 extracts possess properties similar in every respect to those of nootropic drugs. The favorable effects on learning and memory of the combination of G115 plus GK501 and the other pharmacological activities inherent in the extracts characterize this combination, offered as Gincosan as a particularly promising drug in geriatric practice.