Huperzia serrata is a rare Chinese herb which contains a powerful alkaloid called Huperzine A (Hup A for short). According to studies, Hup A has been proven to be beneficial in protecting the brain, including slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
What is Huperzia Serrata?
Huperzia serrata is also known as Chinese Club Moss. The active ingredient which is extracted from Huperzia serrata is called huperzine A (or Hup A). In China, this extract has been in use for centuries for a number of conditions, including fever, inflammation, and blood disorders; in the United States, it is available as a natural supplement to aid in memory support.
Huperzia Serrata Benefits
Medical research and clinical trials have identified huperzine A as a beneficial ingredient in the treatment for diseases and conditions associated with neurodegeneration, such as myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer's disease. In one recent study, sixty middle-aged and elderly patients with impaired neurological faculties were given either Hup A or a placebo for a period of sixty days. Physiological and psychological testing both before and after treatment was conducted on these patients; researchers found that the patients who were treated with Hup A improved over the course of the study by 43 to 70%. This study also confirmed both the efficacy and the safety of the consumption of Hup A.
Other studies have produced results which indicate that Hup A may have desirable outcomes when used for patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.
Hup A is also recommended as a supplement in healthy individuals to support memory and cognitive brain power as the brain ages.
Huperzia Serrata Side Effects
Recent studies conducted in China have concluded that huperzine A is safer than many memory-aid drugs currently on the market. Hup A is not associated with any serious adverse side effects; in very rare cases, possible side effects include breathing difficulties, chest pain, skin rashes, digestive disturbances, and insomnia.
For healthy people, medical professionals recommend taking Hup A no more than two to four times per week so as not to block the natural regulation of acetylcholine, which could theoretically lead to adverse conditions.
How Does Huperzia Serrata Help Brain Function?
Huperzine A, the active extract from Huperzia serrata, serves as a powerful inhibitor to an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase (AChEI), which is significant because acetylcholinesterase breaks down an important neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. The brain cells require acetylcholine to transmit messages between brain cells and other parts of the body. Reduced levels of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter are associated with lower levels of cognitive activity. Patients with Alzheimer's disease are shown to have increased levels of the harmful enzyme acetylcholinesterase, and studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients derive benefits from having this enzyme inhibited. In addition to inhibiting the acetylcholinesterase levels in the brain, Hup A has also been shown to actually increase acetylcholine concentrations, which further improves memory, cognitive processing, and other related brain activity.