Note that, while huperzine A is sold as a dietary supplement, in all essential ways it is simply a typical drug. Huperzine A is highly purified in a laboratory and is just a single chemical. It is simply not much like an herb. Herbs contain hundreds or thousands of chemicals. Huperzine A resembles drugs such as digoxin, codeine, Sudafed, and vincristine (a chemotherapy drug), which are also highly purified chemicals taken from plants. If we wish to call huperzine A a natural treatment, we need to call these (and dozens of other standard drugs) natural as well.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Huperzine A?
All clinical trials of huperzine to date were performed in China and reported in Chinese.
Huperzine A is a highly potent compound with a recommended dose of only 100 to 200 micrograms twice a day for age-related memory loss. We recommend using it only under a doctor's supervision.
Perhaps because it works so specifically, huperzine A appears to have few side effects. However, children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with high blood pressure or severe liver or kidney disease should not take huperzine A except on a doctor's recommendation. We also do not know for sure whether huperzine A interacts adversely with any drugs; however, it seems likely that huperzine might interact with drugs that function in a similar fashion (such as standard drugs for Alzheimer's Disease).
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -