Ginseng has been used for the treatment of aging and memory impairment for thousands of years. Several studies have found that ginsenoside Rg1, as one of the main active components of ginseng, could potentially improve cognitive function in several different animal models. A preclinical systematic review to evaluate the efficacy and mechanisms of ginsenoside Rg1 for ameliorating cognitive impairments in Alzheimer’s disease is reported here. We searched six databases from their inceptions to January 2019. Thirty-two studies were selected, which included a total of 1,643 animals. According to various cognitive behavioral tests, the results of the meta-analyses showed that ginsenoside Rg1 significantly improved cognitive behavioral impairments in most Alzheimer’s disease models (P < 0.05), but there were no significant effects in animals with neuronal degeneration induced by chronic stress or in SAMP8 transgenic mice. The potential mechanisms included antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, amelioration of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology, synapse protection, and up-regulation of nerve cells via multiple signaling pathways.