The club moss plant (Huperzia serrata) has been used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine. Now an extract of this plant is showing great promise as a remedy for those suffering mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
It works in a similar way to some of the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s patients, and yet appears to be more effective, safer to use, and its effects last up to twelve times longer. It may also improve learning and memory in healthy people as well, and that’s exciting news to those of us who – thank God – don’t suffer from dementia and want to keep it that way.
The brain’s parietal lobes are its thought factory, responsible for functions such as language comprehension, learning, and immediate memory. And it is in these lobes that acetylcholine, one of the brain’s four key biochemicals, is produced. Acetylcholine is required for all the thinking functions I just mentioned, and more.
It’s a normal part of aging to see levels of acetylcholine fall, but those with Alzheimer’s produce an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase that lowers levels even further, by as much as 90%. A decline that sharp is a disaster. Nerve cells have trouble both sending and receiving signals, leading to serious mental decline.
The main drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s focus on blocking this enzyme to allow acetylcholine levels to rise and cognitive function to improve. And that’s what the extract of this ancient Chinese plant called huperzine A is able to do, but much more effectively.
Professor Joel Sussman of the Weizmann Institute in Israel said, “It is as if this natural substance were ingeniously designed to fit into the exact spot in acetylcholinesterase where it will do the most good.”
Studies Support Huperzine A
In one study about 58% of patients treated with huperzine A showed significant improvement in memory, cognition, and behavioral functions, leading the researchers to say that it “is a promising drug for symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
In another study the researchers concluded that huperzine A is “a safe and effective medicine
A review of 20 studies published in September, 2013 concluded that “huperzine A appears to have beneficial effects on improvement of cognitive function, daily living activity, and global clinical assessment in participants with Alzheimer’s.”
If you’ve read our book Awakening from Alzheimer’s you already know about this remarkable plant extract – it’s the subject of Chapter 10. And even if you have read the book, I encourage you to watch the new 12-day event, Awakening from Alzheimer’s, premiering September 21st, 2016. To register for this free event, click here.
Huperzine A has Multiple Benefits
If being a better enzyme blocker than any prescription drug was the only benefit of huperzine A, it would be impressive enough, but this herbal remedy does even more.
It protects the brain’s mitochondria – the energy factories of the cell – from beta amyloid plaques. It is a strong antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the brain. It has the ability to reduce nerve cell death in the brain caused by exposure to a toxin. It has even been shown in animal models to promote the growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus, one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s patients.
You don’t even need to be middle aged or elderly to benefit. Huperzine A was also shown to enhance the memory and learning performance of healthy adolescent students.
A Comprehensive Approach May Be Needed
Although huperzine A is available as a dietary supplement, brain chemistry is complex. A single food or supplement can have a dramatic effect, but each person’s needs are unique as to what individual substance they will respond to.
So don’t look at any one nutrient or medicinal substance as a magic bullet that will solve brain health problems all by itself. More often, a comprehensive approach that looks at diet, vitamins, minerals, sleep, exercise and other factors is required to maintain and improve mental health.
That’s why this type of medicine is called holistic (or, more accurately) wholistic. By taking a comprehensive approach, many people have reversed mental decline that had already taken place. All that’s needed is to put into effect the knowledge we already have about the brain and the natural remedies available, and the results will surely follow, sometimes in a surprisingly short time.