Huperzine A – Review the Latest Research

Full Disclosure

Huperzine is a chemical found in Chinese club moss (Huperzia serrata or H. serrata). Huperzine A is also used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Huperzine A is a natural form of an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, a protein that reduces the brain chemical Acetylcholine (ACH). By blocking acetylcholinesterase, huperzine A is thought to increase ACH levels, which tend to be low in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD). This is why Aricept (donepezil) can be used as a treatment for AD.

Huperzine A might have potential nootropic effects, which means it may help with brain health, such as memory. It's a prescription drug in a few countries, including China; however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it as a prescribed product for use in the United States.

This article will discuss the basics of the potential use of huperzine A and adverse effects and interactions.

Dietary supplements aren't subject to regulation as drugs are within the United States, meaning the FDA doesn't test them for safety or effectiveness prior to a product's marketing. If possible, select supplements that have been tested by a trusted third party, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP),, or NSF.

Even if a third party has tested supplements, they are not always beneficial for everyone or safe generally. It is, therefore, essential to consult an experienced healthcare professional regarding any supplements you plan to take and inquire about possible interactions with other medications or supplements.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredients (s): Huperzine A
  • Alternative name(s): Huperzine A, HupA, Chinese club moss, Huperzia serrata (H. serrata) extract, Qian Ceng Ta
  • Legal status: marketed as a nutritional supplement within the United States
  • Recommended dosage: Can vary depending on the medication and the health condition
  • Safety concerns: Concerns about side effects and interactions could occur. There are additional considerations regarding the use of this medication in pregnant women, infants, and breastfeeding mothers.

Uses of Huperzine A

Supplements should be tailored to your needs and evaluated by a healthcare professional like a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. Supplements are not to cure, treat, or prevent illness.

Like many natural substances, further research is required to ensure the product's safety and effectiveness.

People use Huperzine A to treat various conditions, such as aiding in the treatment of cerebral dementia and Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Disease

Two meta-analyses and systematic reviews investigated the use of huperzine for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The results of the research in both reviews suggest that huperzine could help those suffering from AD in these ways:

  • Function of the brain
  • Self-care abilities, such as eating or dressing–for longer periods
  • The general improvement in abilities as demonstrated by healthcare professionals' assessment

Additionally to the two research studies, an analysis of huperzine in 2014 as a treatment for AD from Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine confirms the advantages of using it in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The research showed that huperzine appeared to aid people suffering from AD in improving their performance on a brain function test–in addition to assisting them in performing the activities of daily life (ADLs) like eating and dressing.

While these results are good However, extensive and top-quality research with longer-term and more comprehensive research is needed to determine huperzine A's effects and safety for people suffering from AD.

Vascular Dementia

People with vascular dementia have medical ailments that affect the blood vessels that line the brain. These conditions can cause memory issues. Patients suffering from vascular dementia might also notice changes in behavior and thinking.

A more systematic review, dating back to 2009, was carried out on the potential of huperzine-A's use for treating vascular dementia. Only one clinical trial proved conclusive among the research included in the review.

Based on this study, huperzine A did not outperform placebo (a drug with no therapeutic benefits) when it came to enhancing scores on a brain function test. After six months, it was evident that huperzine could assist people suffering from vascular dementia with ADLs.

The results of this research were not conclusive, so no definitive conclusion can be drawn on the effectiveness of huperzine for vascular dementia. More well-designed clinical trials are required to better determine the effects of huperzine-A.

The study mentioned in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine was much larger and examined the results of various studies regarding the effects of huperzine on AD and vascular dementia. The meta-analysis concluded that the use of huperzine A could benefit patients suffering from vascular dementia.

Alongside doing better at ADLs, patients with vascular dementia also performed better in a test of brain function. They had fewer adverse side effects of huperzine A than those who suffer from AD.

Although the meta-analysis's results were favorable, more high-quality clinical trials that include an increased number of participants are needed to determine the effects of huperzine A.

What Are the Side Effects of Huperzine A?

As with many medicines and natural substances, adverse consequences are possible when using the drug huperzine.

Common Side Effects

The majority of adverse reactions have been minor and brief.

Common adverse reactions include:

  • Vision blurred
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleeping issues
  • Heart rate slow
  • Stomachache
  • Sweating

Severe Side Effects

There is little information about Huperzine's health risks. However, several systematic reviews or meta-analyses did not report serious side effects.

Every medication and supplement could be a source of allergic reactions. If you're experiencing an allergic reaction to huperzine, the symptoms could include breathing issues, itchiness, and itching.

If you're suffering from an extreme allergic reaction or the symptoms are dangerous, contact 911 for medical attention immediately.


A medical professional may recommend against taking huperzine A in the event that one of the following applies to you:

Extremely allergic reactions: Do not use this product if you are extremely allergic to huperzine or its constituents (ingredients).

Breastfeeding and pregnancy: There are no products with huperzine labelings targeted at breastfeeding or pregnant parents. Additionally, there is a lack of information on the effects and security of huperzine A when breastfeeding or pregnant. In animal studies, Aricept—a prescription medicine with cholinesterase inhibitory effects (like Hupezine A)—late during pregnancy was found to be linked to adverse impacts on the unborn fetus.

In these circumstances, you should consult an experienced healthcare professional to discuss advantages and potential risks before taking the huperzine A.

Children: Most huperzine A-labels are for adults, not children or infants. Discuss with a medical professional when you're thinking about using huperzine A to treat your kid.

Adults over 65 years old As for older adults who participated in a few huperzine A-related clinical trials, more thorough research is required to assess their safety. In addition, certain older adults could have an increased risk of adverse negative effects. This is why you should be cautious when taking huperzine.

Weight loss: Those who weigh less than 121 lbs are more likely to suffer adverse effects from Aricept, a synthetic Cholinesterase inhibitor with effects similar to those of huperzine.

Dosage: How Much Should I Take Huperzine A?

Always consult your healthcare professional before taking a supplement to ensure that the dosage and supplement are appropriate for your personal needs.8

While some studies have been conducted regarding the effects of huperzine A on humans, more clinical trials are required. Because of this, there aren't any guidelines regarding the proper dose of huperzine for any medical condition.

Clinical trials conducted for Alzheimer's disease, however, showed a total daily dosage (TDD) of 0.2-0.8 milligrams (mg). For Alzheimer's disease with vascular involvement, the TDD was 0.1-0.3 mg. Generally, a dose in the range of 0.4 mg twice a day for up to 24 weeks is tolerated.

More reliable and consistent information is needed. Before deciding on the dose of huperzine, follow the advice of a doctor or read the label directions.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Huperzine A?

There is not much information on the huperzine A security, toxicology as well as overdoses among humans.1 However, the symptoms associated with overdoses with the drug huperzine A will likely be comparable to likely serious and frequent adverse reactions, but they are more severe and severe. The health risks could also be present from products contaminated with substances that are not approved or known to be harmful.

If you suspect you're experiencing life-threatening side effects, seek immediate medical attention.


There is not much information available on the safety of medication and possible interactions with huperzine. Most of the information is based on huperzine's potential applications.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) treatments: Huperzine A may work similarly to Aricept, an AD medication. This is why huperzine A could have additive effects in conjunction with AD medication, increasing the chance of adverse effects.

Anticholinergic medicines: Acetylcholine (ACH) is a naturally occurring substance within the body. For those suffering from AD, there is a lower level of ACH. Anticholinergic medication, such as DitropanXL (oxybutynin) to treat overactive bladder (OAB), might cause more problems and may also work against AD drugs. Because huperzine A can enhance AD symptoms through the increase of ACH, anticholinergic medicines could hinder the benefits of huperzine.

It is important to take the time to look over a supplement's ingredient list and information panel on nutrition facts to determine the ingredients included and what proportion each one contains. Review the label of this supplement with your doctor to discuss any possible interactions with food items, other supplements, and medications.

How to Store Huperzine A

As storage instructions can differ for various natural products, be sure to review the directions and label. Keep your medication tightly shut and out of the reach and view of pets and children. It is ideal to keep it locked away in a closet or cabinet. Most medications' best storage conditions are in a dry and excellent location.

Recycle after one year or the date specified on the packaging. Do not flush expired and unopened medications down the toilet or in the drain. Check the FDA website to find out where and how to dispose of all unused or expired medicines. There are also disposal containers in your neighborhood.

Ask a health professional any questions regarding what to do with your medicines or supplements.

Similar Supplements

Huperzine A could have potential applications to improve brain function and memory. Similar supplements to Huperzine A include:

Vitamins E and B: According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), people suffering from AD might benefit from Vitamin E. For instance, vitamin E could enable people suffering from AD to take on more activities of daily living for a longer time.

The long-term use of specific B vitamins, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid (vitamin B9), and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), can help slow the progression of memory problems among older individuals.

Omega-3 fats: According to research, the omega-3 fatty acids derived from eating fish can help prevent memory issues from worsening in older adults.

Do not combine several natural supplements until you speak with your healthcare professional or pharmacist. A consultation can help avoid possible reactions and side effects. Also, ensure you're giving these supplements a balanced trial in the appropriate dosages.


Is there a commonly used dosage form for huperzine A?

Huperzine A can be found in several dose forms, with the capsule being the most commonly used.

Are there products containing huperzine A from companies within the United States?

Yes. There are products containing huperzine produced by producers within the United States.

To protect yourself, look at the product's label to confirm that it has been evaluated by a trusted third party, such as USP,, or NSF. Making purchases from an accredited third party can minimize your chance of exposure to substances that could affect your health.

Can huperzine help me improve my fitness?

Huperzine A is an essential element in many pre-workout products. It's because it's believed to boost the brain's function or mental performance, reduce the perception that you're exerting (effort), and boost your exercise performance. Based on an insignificant clinical trial, the huperzine A drug doesn't appear to enhance mental or brain functioning.

Can I have huperzine every day?

This isn't certain. According to an article from 2013, Alzheimer's patients will likely be able to take 0.4 milligrams (mg) of Huperzine A taken by mouth two times every day for up to 24 weeks. There's not much information regarding the safety of huperzine-A, especially when it's used for longer than 24 weeks.

How do I take huperzine A safely?

To generally take natural supplements, such as huperzine-A, safely, inform your doctor and pharmacist of any changes in medication.

This covers OTC or herbal medication. It includes OTC, herbal, and natural medication supplements.They could help prevent interactions and adverse consequences. It is also possible to ensure that you provide huperzine A with a positive test at the right dose.

Sources of Huperzine A & What to Look For

The sources of huperzine A can be found in food and supplements.

Food Sources of Huperzine A

Huperzine A is found naturally in the Chinese club moss plant. However, there is little information on other food sources for It.

Huperzine A Supplements

Huperzine A comes in various forms, such as tablets and capsules. If you are having difficulty taking pills, then huperzine A can also be found in powder and liquid form.

Vegan and vegetarian alternatives may also be available. Huperzine A mixed with additional ingredients may also be a possibility.

The product you select will be based on your preference and the results you expect to achieve. Every product can perform differently according to the formulation. Thus, following a medical doctor's advice or label instructions is crucial.


Huperzine A is a chemical found in the plant Chinese club moss. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine. It could be beneficial for brain health, particularly for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

More high-quality clinical trials are required to evaluate the efficacy and safety of huperzine. Before you start taking huperzine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to assist you in achieving those health-related goals.

Live Healthier
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