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Huperzine A
(Huperzia serrata)


open quote logo graphics Research studies show that huperzine is a promising treatment alternative to prescription drugs for Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other memory related problems. close quote logo image



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In recent studies, some experts have suggested it might even be as effective as prescription drugs used to treat dementia.

However taking supplement may not improve your memory if you don't have memory problems. However, if you suffer from forgetfulness at times, this herb could prove to be just what you need to boost your ability to remember things.

Click here to see a list of natural remedies used to treat this condition.

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Table of Contents




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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia

Human research trials have shown benefits in taking huperzine for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other memory related problems.

More clinical studies will be needed to confirm this as there are studies that showed this herb is not effective. It can be difficult to judge memory function in people even though scientists have developed standardized tests and questionnaires.
 
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Epilepsy / Seizure Disorders

Studies performed in rats showed that this herb is effective in treating certain types of seizure disorders. The researchers noted that this herb showed this benefit without any side effects.

More studies in human subjects will need to be done this beneficial fi verify if this benefit can be found in people suffering from epilepsy disorder.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is huperzine and how does it work?

The Chinese have discovered this herb over a century ago and they are still using it today in China for treating memory related problems. Luckily, this believe is backed up by many research studies done over the last decade.

It is a substance found in the Chinese club moss. It has been traditionally used for hundred of years in China to treat memory related problems, swelling, fever and blood problems.

Huperzia slows down the breakdown of acetylcholine (needed for proper memory function). It is also shown to protect nerve cells from degeneration.

This is exactly how prescription drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease work. These include Aricept (donepezil), Cognex (tacrine), Ebixa/Namenda (memantine) and Exelon (rivastigmine).


Are there research studies to support using huperzine for dementia, Alzheimer's disease and memory loss?

There are small research studies that show taking this supplement improves the memory capacity of healthy teenagers.

Several studies done in people with Alzheimer's disease showed that it improved their memory and behaviour. These benefits were seen between 4 and 8 weeks of using the supplement.

Research studies show this herb has the potential to be as effective as prescription drugs for treating dementia. Indeed, some researchers are combining huperzine with prescription drugs to see they will work better.

Unfortunately, there are no larger well-designed placebo-controlled studies to date. This is the type of studies needed to clearly prove that it works.


What are some other names for huperzine?

In different parts of the world, you may find people refer to this supplement as HupA, Huperzia serrata or Selagine.


What if I'm already taking a prescription drug for treating dementia?

If you are currently taking prescription drugs for treating Alzheimer's disease or dementia, talk to your doctor to let him or her know that you intend to try this supplement. You may be able reduce or eliminate taking your prescription medication.

Research is underway to see if combining this herb with a prescription drug would give better results. This is a good sign that the medical community is starting to see that herbs such as this one could one day be excellent alternative to standard therapy!

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

Oral
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • mental alertness
  • energy enhancement
  • epilepsy / seizure disorder
  • memory improvement
  • myasthenia gravis
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Side Effects, Toxicity, Warnings and Interactions

There are some mild side effects reported during research studies. They include:

  • blurred vision
  • chest pain (angina)
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty in breathing
  • dizziness
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • slowing down of the heart rate
  • sweating
  • vomiting
Always start with the lowest dose and then increase gradually until you get the benefits from this supplement. This will help reduce the side effects that you may experience.

Safety - In clinical trials showed that this supplement is safe to use in healthy volunteers. The studies were up to 3 months in length.

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Dosage & How to Take It

Huperzine is available as capsule, tablet and liquid extract formulations.

Orally


Dose used is 50 mcg (micrograms) taken once to three times daily. Dosages as high as 200 mcg (or 0.2 mg) twice daily have been used.

Start with a lower dose and increase slowly to avoid experiencing side effects.


Related Topics

Natural Remedies for Dementia




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Selected References for Huperzine
Revised: July 2, 2009

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