From the Vitamin Department: Huperzine A

Huperzine A is a plant alkaloid derived from the Chinese herb called club moss. It has been used in China since the start of recorded history. It was used to treat fever and inflammation. Science has found another use for the plant, specifically: Huperzine A, an alkaloid isolated from the moss which has produced encouraging results in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder that manifests itself as a progressive deterioration of memory and mental function. Researchers found that huperzine inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that plays a key roll in cognition and reasoning. People with Alzheimer’s often have an acetylcholine deficiency. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are believed to be caused by a reduced level of acetylcholine in the brain that is especially important for memory.

If you are taking medication, huperzine A should be used only with your doctor’s approval. If used with other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, the effect could be an overdose. The same could be true for the nutritional supplement phosphatidyl choline. Furthermore, persons with seizure disorders, asthma, and cardiac arrhythmias should avoid using huperzine A without first receiving a doctor’s approval.