Huperzine A
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Huperzine A?

Huperzine A (HUP-er-zeen) is a potent chemical derived from a particular type of club moss ( Huperzia serrata[Thumb] Trev.). Like caffeine and cocaine, huperzine A is a medicinally active, plant-derived chemical that belongs to the class known as alkaloids. It was first isolated in 1948 by Chinese scientists. 1 This substance is really more a drug than an herb, but it is sold over the counter as a dietary supplement for memory loss and mental impairment.

Studies in animals suggested that it could improve memory skills. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 These finding led to human trials (described below) and the subsequent marketing of the huperzine A as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. It is also sold as a...

Safety Issues

Perhaps because it works so specifically, huperzine A appears to have few side effects. However, children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with high blood pressure or severe liver or kidney disease should not take huperzine A except on a doctor's recommendation. We also don't know for sure whether huperzine A interacts adversely with any drugs; however, it seems likely that huperzine might interact with drugs that function in a similar fashion (such as standard drugs for Alzheimer's Disease).