Ginseng root, as a folk medicine, has been used in for eastern countries for thousands of years. Ginseng extract has been shown to have a variety of effects on the activity of the central nervous system, promoting simulation as well as inhibition of the cortical activity. A survey of the relevant literatures has indicated that the putative anxiolytic activity of red ginseng has not been scientifically investigated. Therefore, the present study was designed to assess anxiolytic effect of ginseng total saponinis(GTS). The putative anxiolytic effects of several fractions of GTS were investigated in mice using an elevated plus maze paradigm. Single dose administration of TS Fr.- I showed anxiolytic action in mice. Anxiolytic effect induced by TS Fr.-I was similar to that induced by diazepam. TS Fr.-II, TS Fr.-III and TS Fr.-IV did not show the anxiolytic action compared with that of TS Fr.-I. It was suggested that regulation of GABAergic neurotransmission may be important in the action of GTS. The Interaction of GTS fractions with benzodiazepine receptor was performed using rat cortical membranes. GTS inhibited the binding of [3H] Rp 15-1788 on the benzodiazepine receptor. Among from TS fractions, the binding activity of GTS in the TS Fr.-IV was highest, which did not show the anxiolytic activity. From these results, we conclude that GTS has anxiolytic action, and the is not related to benzodiazepine receptor binding activity.