Panaxydol is a naturally occurring non-peptidyl small molecule isolated from the lipophilic fractions of Panax notoginseng, a well-known Chinese traditional medicine. Previous studies have shown that panaxydol inhibited the growth of various kinds of malignant cell lines. To date, there has been no report concerning the effect of panaxydol on cell growth inhibition in glioma cells. In this paper, we examined panaxydol's antiproliferation and proapoptotic effects on rat C6 glioma cells and investigated its mechanism. Cell growth inhibition of panaxydol was determined by MTT reduction assay. Apoptosis of cells was measured by both Hoechst 33258 staining and Annexin V analysis. It was found that panaxydol markedly inhibited proliferation of C6 cells in a dose-dependent manner with ID50 of 40 μM. The cell apoptosis was observed at 48 h in the presence of panaxydol. In concert with these findings, Western blot analysis showed a decreased expression of bcl-2 and increased levels of Bax and caspase-3 in C6 cells treated by panaxydol. In conclusion, panaxydol has profound effects on growth and apoptosis of C6 cells, suggesting that panaxydol may be a potential candidate for the treatment of malignant gliomas.