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Huperzine A


Updated: April 7, 2006

An Alternative Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease

Huperzine is a chemical that comes from a Chinese herb called Huperzia serrata. Huperzine, a moss extract, has been used for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is used for Alzheimer's disease.

Huperzine A acts like a cholinesterase inhibitor. It increases the amount of acetylcholine in very much the same way as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medications such as Aricept.

There have been a number of small studies into the effectiveness of Huperzine which have found that it is more effective than a placebo. Improvements have been seen in cognition, memory and in the behavior of people with Alzheimer's disease. One of the main problems is the studies have only been small ones and there is a need for further investigation and larger scale studies into its effectiveness for mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease.

It is not recommended that Huperzine and FDA approved cholinesterase medications for Alzheimer's be used in combination as there is no research into the safety, efficacy or side effects.

It is recommended that the FDA approved medication be used rather than Huperzine A because first there is evidence and research to support their use. Secondly, the dosage of FDA approved medications are consistent, a problem with some alternative treatments for Alzheimer's disease.


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