Perhaps the most promising natural remedy for Alzheimer’s disease is one called “huperzine A.” This one is definitely worth a closer look.
Physicians can prescribe one of many classes of drugs for Alzheimer’s, including cholinergic drugs, NMDA inhibitors, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. But treating this disease doesn’t begin and end with pharmaceuticals. Alternative medicine is very promising and huperzine A may be the best bet.
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This remedy is based on a chemical derived from the Chinese herb “Huperzia serrata,” used to treat contusions, strains, swelling and schizophrenia. All evidence comes from China, published in Chinese medical journals. Here are some research highlights that look at huperzine A alone, or in conjunction with a drug:
— A double-blind study of 100 elderly patients, including 17 cases of Alzheimer’s, huperzine A led to a significant improvement in all tests for cognitive functioning.
— In 819 patients with Alzheimer’s at various hospitals in China, a 12-week, high-quality trial found that huperzine A, given twice a day for three months, led to improvements in memory, cognitive skills, and functional ability in daily living.
— Huperzine A added to the drug nicergoline (40 mg a day) improved memory and quality of life in 24 Alzheimer’s patients and 35 vascular dementia patients with post-stroke dementia.
— Huperzine A plus 2.0 mg of estrogen once every fortnight for 24 weeks in 30 women with Alzheimer’s improved memory significantly.
— In 2002, huperzine A was used along with training in daily life activities for two months in 43 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. They had significant improvement in their quality of life. The same result was seen when huperzine A was added to a mental stimulation program.
Final word: Even though the results are promising, there is an immediate need to conduct well-designed, much larger clinical trials outside of China before huperzine A is routinely recommended for Alzheimer’s. Talk to your doctor or your loved one’s doctor if you’re considering it.