Huperzine A is an alkaloid isolated from the club moss Huperzia serrata which has been widely used for centuries in traditional Asiatic medicine to treat many central disorders including cognitive dysfunction and dementia. It increases levels of acetylcholine in the brain by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity and may consequently improve cognitive function in patients with dementia and possibly have neuroprotective and antioxidant properties.
Recent scientific research indicates that huperzine-A may have some of the following benefits:
Scientific Studies Cited
1. Improves cognition in vascular demotion patients
“Conclusion: Huperzine A can significantly improve the cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate vascular dementia.”
Xu ZQ, Liang XM, Juan-Wu, Zhang YF, Zhu CX, Jiang XJ. Treatment with Huperzine A improves cognition in vascular dementia patients. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2012 Jan;62(1):55-8. doi: 10.1007/s12013-011-9258-5. PMID: 21833673.
2. Improved memory deficits in elderly people
“The phase IV clinical trials in China have demonstrated that HupA significantly improved memory deficits in elderly people with benign senescent forgetfulness, and patients with Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, with minimal peripheral cholinergic side effects and no unexpected toxicity.”
Wang R, Yan H, Tang XC. Progress in studies of huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jan;27(1):1-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7254.2006.00255.x. PMID: 16364207.
3. May reduce cognitive and task switching deficits
“Conclusion: Huperzine-A is effective in reducing cognitive and task switching deficits in patients with AD.”
Gul A, Bakht J, Mehmood F. Huperzine-A response to cognitive impairment and task switching deficits in patients with Alzheimer's disease. J Chin Med Assoc. 2019 Jan;82(1):40-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jcma.2018.07.004. PMID: 30839402.
4. Improved cognitive functional outcomes after TBI in mice
“We found that HupA therapy improved histology and cognitive functional outcomes after TBI. HupA reduced brain edema in TBI mice. furthermore, HupA inhibited ox-idative stress.“
Mei Z, Hong Y, Yang H, Sheng Q, Situ B. Huperzine A protects against traumatic brain injury through anti-oxidative effects via the Nrf2-ARE pathway. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2021 Oct;24(10):1455-1461. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2021.58169.12932. PMID: 35096305; PMCID: PMC8769513.
5. Ameliorates cognitive deficits in diabetic rats
“It is concluded that HupA ameliorates DACD via modulating BDNF, oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis.”
Mao XY, Cao DF, Li X, Yin JY, Wang ZB, Zhang Y, Mao CX, Zhou HH, Liu ZQ. Huperzine A ameliorates cognitive deficits in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 May 5;15(5):7667-83. doi: 10.3390/ijms15057667. PMID: 24857910; PMCID: PMC4057698.
6. May alleviate cognitive impairment in rats
“HupA may alleviate the cognitive impairment in rats after isoflurane anesthesia by decreasing inflammatory factors and increasing hippocampal neurotrophic factors in hippocampus tissue.”
Cai Y, Huang P, Xie Y. Effects of huperzine A on hippocampal inflammatory response and neurotrophic factors in aged rats after anesthesia. Acta Cir Bras. 2020 Feb 7;34(12):e201901205. doi: 10.1590/s0102-865020190120000005. PMID: 32049185; PMCID: PMC7006372.