The Brain Boosting Benefits of Huperzia Serrata
The list of plants and herbs that are beneficial to your body is virtually endless. However, the list of plants and herbs that have a healthy biological effect on your brain is markedly shorter. That’s why we’re excited whenever we come across one of these “nootropic” herbs, and we’re happy to share what we found with you all.
Otherwise known as Chinese Club Moss, Huperzia Serrata contains a biologically active phytochemical called Huperzine A or simply “HupA.” This alkaloid compound enhances the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. It does this by acting as a defense against acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that degrades acetylcholine (an important neurotransmitter). By protecting your brain chemicals from erosion, HupA supports healthy cognitive function and may address long term conditions related to memory, learning, and attention.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Huperzine A acts as a cholinesterase inhibitor — a type of medication that works by improving the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Small early studies suggest that huperzine A might improve memory and protect nerve cells, which could slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s.”
Clinical testing of HupA as a pharmaceutical treatment is still in its relative infancy and medical professionals cannot yet conclusively recommend taking it to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. That said, the results are promising. Chinese Club Moss is already a widely accepted supplement for improving cognitive function. Studies have shown that healthy subjects experienced an increase in memory and attention after taking the herb. Onnit, an Austin-based health and supplement company, states on their website that, “Huperzine A boosts acetylcholine and prevents oxidative stress in cholinergic neurons. HupA is a highly specific reversible inhibitor of AchE, an enzyme responsible for the removal of Ach in the synaptic cleft of cholinergic neurons. HupA efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier, rapidly binding to the active site residues to form the Ache-HupA complex.”
In other words, the active compound from the plant is readily absorbed into your bloodstream and then efficiently delivered to your brain where it helps fight the harmful effects of the AchE enzyme. This biological efficiency is part of what makes this phytonutrient so attractive, it is easy for your body to absorb and make use of. Some medications and supplements have a harder time crossing the various barriers in your body (i.e. the digestive system) and being delivered to their intended target. Huperzine A evidently does not have this problem. The plant is also what’s known as a “Nootropic Stack” supplement. This means that it can be safely combined with other nootropic plants (plants that have an effect on the brain) without causing unforeseen complications or side-effects.
If you take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: We know that Huperzia Serrata is good for your brain. Its active compound, Huperzine A, has proven beneficial in warding off cognitive decline. The next question is whether or not this phytochemical is strong enough to ward off diseases. It’s one thing to take an herb as a preventative health measure, taking that same herb to treat an illness is another matter entirely. The trials that have been conducted on Huperzia Serrata show that it has a positive biological effect on the brain. And to us, that presents intriguing possibilities.
We hope you found this informative. Thank you for reading.