Fruits rich in phytochemicals have been shown to improve memory by protecting or enhancing neuronal functions mediated by neurotrophic factors, such as nerve growth factor (NGF), in the hippocampus. Mori Fructus (Morus alba L., Moraceae), also called mulberry, is used as a food, dietary supplement and an anti-ageing agent in traditional Oriental medicine. It is also known to contain abundant flavonoid compounds and to exhibit various pharmacological effects. The present study was performed to evaluate the memory-enhancing effect of Mori Fructus extract (ME) in mice, with a focus on NGF regulation. ME (20, 100 and 500 mg/kg per d for 7 d, per os) dose-dependently promoted NGF release in the mouse hippocampus, leading to phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases and cyclic AMP response element-binding protein. ME significantly increased pre- and post-synapse formation, acetylcholine synthesisation, neuronal cell differentiation, neurite outgrowth and neuronal cell proliferation in the mouse hippocampus. Furthermore, ME significantly increased latency time in the passive avoidance task (P< 0·001) and recognition time of novel objects in the object recognition test (P< 0·05), indicating improvements in learning and memory. Taken together, these data suggest that ME exhibits a memory-enhancing effect via up-regulation of NGF.