Huperzia serrata may help the brains of Alzheimers patients or those with vascular dementia

January 18, 2011

Club moss has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries; the plant contains the alkaloid Huperzine A (HupA). HupA is a potent, selective, and well tolerated acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Acetylcholinesterase breaks down the brain chemical acetylcholine so inhibiting acetylcholinesterase raises the level of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is natural to the brain. It is known as a neurotransmitter and its job is to improve awareness, memory and learning. The level of acetylcholine drops in our brain and it is basically nonexistent in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

According to researchers from the State Key Laboratory of Drug Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences HupA has been proven to significantly improve learning and memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or with vascular dementia. The have recently discovered that HupA also has other brain protective functions; it regulates the protein Abeta (a protein that destroys the brain of Alzheimer’s patients) by inhibiting the manufacture of the protein in the brain, it improves brain metabolism, is a powerful antioxidant against Alzheimer’s disease type of free radical damage generated by the Abeta protein, helps prevent brain cells from dying, helps the brain create energy by improving the function of the brains power plants (mitochondria that generate energy) and is a anti-inflammatory agent.  The review is published in the journal Chemical- Biological Interactions.