Huperzia serrata, previously known as Lycopodium serratum, is a type of clubmoss. Its common names include Chinese Club Moss and toothed clubmoss. This plant is also known as Jin Bu Huan and Qian Ceng Ta in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). H. serrata is native to Southeast Asia, although it’s widely distributed throughout tropical climates with abundant rainfall.
The primary reason for H. serrata’s commercial value is that it contains a high level of huperzine A, a chemical classified as a sesquiterpene alkaloid. Other species of Huperzia also contain huperzine A, but in lower concentrations. Huperzine A inhibits the production of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also an antagonist of the neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Crude extracts of H. serrata have been used in TCM for centuries for a variety of purposes such as blood disorders, fever and unhealthy inflammation. The modern preparation of H. serrata extract involves significantly more processing, generally for the purpose of increasing the concentration of huperzine A. Huperzine A’s benefits as a health supplement primarily derives from its effect on acetylcholine levels in the brain. More studies on huperzine A are needed to determine its long-term effects.
The most significant uses of huperzine A deal with the brain and nervous system. The benefits include support for cognitive and memory recall as well as support for the muscles and nervous system.
Oral supplements of huperzine A may support mental function, according to some studies. The regimens in these studies were up to eight weeks in length.
Huperzine A may support nervous system functions in the presence of organophosphates.
Some research shows that huperzine A may support memory in older children and teenagers. This research studied the effects of huperzine A for up to four weeks.
Huperzine A may help to manage muscle weakness caused by some aging conditions, according to some studies.
Cognitive impairments that affect memory and learning are the most common indications that you may need huperzine A supplements. These signs are especially significant when they are caused by age-related conditions. Additional signs that huperzine A may help you include chronic muscle weakness, fatigue and lack of alertness. Organophosphate poisoning is also an indication that you may need huperzine A, which is often caused by exposure to herbicides and insecticides.
Chinese Club Moss, Toothed clubmoss, Jin Bu Huan, Qian Ceng Ta, H. serrata
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