Integrative Medicine Blog

Research Suggests Huperzine A May Benefit People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Satish Mohan ND, RN Sunday, November 11, 2018

Research demonstrated that Huperzine A may benefit people with Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder associated with impaired cognitive function and memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the presence of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, low levels of acetylcholine, and cholinergic neuronal loss in the brain. Pharmacological treatment uses acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to try to raise acetylcholine levels. Huperzine A, an alkaloid found in clubmoss plants of the Lycopodium genus and Huperzia genus, may have beneficial effects for people with Alzheimer’s disease since research discovered that Huperzine A has acetylcholinesterase inhibiting properties. Research also demonstrated that Huperzine A has a variety of neuroprotective effects, including reducing oxidative stress to neurons by reducing lipid peroxidation, increasing antioxidant enzyme activities, and reducing cellular death of neurons by protecting mitochondria from being damaged by beta-amyloid. Clinical trials in China have shown that Huperzine A may have benefits in cognitive function and memory for people with Alzheimer’s disease.


Wang, R., & Tang, X. C. (2005). Neuroprotective Effects of Huperzine A. Neurosignals, 14(1-2), 71-82.

Xu, S.S., et al. (1995). Efficacy of tablet huperzine A on memory, cognition, and behavior in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Pharmacol Sin, 16:391–395.