Stimulants: Huperzine-A - Mind And Muscle

buff guy barcurlingHuperzine-A is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the plant Huperzia serrata, also known as Chinese Club Moss. Huperzine-A has been used for many years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many different conditions including swelling, fever, and schizophrenia. As a supplement, Huperzine-A is often used to enhance memory, focus, and learning ability. Huperzine-A may be of benefit to students and in treating age-related cognitive decline.

Huperzine-A is an inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Huperzine-A is able to cross the blood-brain barrier so that it can exert its effects in the brain. In addition to its effects on acetylcholine levels, huperzine-A may also increase nerve growth factor (an protein that is important for the growth and sustenance of nerve cells), however more research is definitely needed on this topic. Anecdotal evidence has supported the brain-boosting effects of huperzine-A, with users both young and old reporting increased mental clarity and memory. Huperzine-A shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and functions similarly to certain drugs used to treat cognitive decline.

The dosages of huperzine-A used in studies were in the range of about 50-200 mcg/day. This is an effective dosage range but it is not uncommon for users to take a slightly higher daily dosage. Huperzine-A should be taken in split doses, usually two to three daily doses taken with meals.


1. Jiang H, Luo X, & Bai D. (2003). Progress in clinical, pharmacological, chemical and structural biological studies of huperzine A: a drug of traditional chinese medicine origin for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 10(21), 2231-52.

2. Li YX, Zhang RQ, Li CR, & Jiang XH. (2007). Pharmacokinetics of huperzine A following oral administration to human volunteers. European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics. 32(4), 183-7.

3. Darvesh S, Walsh R, & Martin E. (2003). Enantiomer effects of huperzine A on the aryl acylamidase activity of human cholinesterases. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 23(1), 93-100.

4. Ashani Y, Grunwald J, Kronman C, Velan B, & Shafferman A. (1994). Role of tyrosine 337 in the binding of huperzine A to the active site of human acetylcholinesterase. Molecular Pharmacology. 45(3), 555-60.

5. Tang LL, Wang R, & Tang XC. (2005). Effects of huperzine A on secretion of nerve growth factor in cultured rat cortical astrocytes and neurite outgrowth in rat PC12 cells. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 26(6), 673-8.

6. Ma X, Tan C, Zhu D, Gang DR, & Xiao P. (2007). Huperzine A from Huperzia species–an ethnopharmacolgical review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 113(1), 15-34.

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