Huperzine A is a potent natural synaptic enzyme modulator. Studies indicate its ability to support learning, memory, neuroplasticity, and executive function.
Extracted from the firmoss huperzia serrata, huperzine A is a naturally occurring alkaloid that quickly permeates the blood-brain barrier and restricts the action of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Huperzine A has been shown to have a high affinity for brain cholinesterases, establishing its reputation as a highly effective compound to increase acetylcholine levels without side effects. Several studies found that huperzine A reduced acetylcholinesterase activity by up to 20%.
Other Common Names
Huperzine A extracted from the huperzia serrata leaf.
What Is Huperzine A?
Huperzine A is an extract found in many herbs known for memory and learning enhancing properties. The compound is primarily useful because it inhibits an enzyme in the brain that breaks down a brain chemical called acetylcholine. Thus, preventing the breakdown of this neurotransmitter, the natural result is more of this brain chemical in the brain.
Acetylcholine is considered the main brain chemical associated with memory formation and learning ability, which has downstream effects for treating Alzheimer’s disease . While long-term research is missing, the evidence thus far is compellingly in favor of using huperzine A as a cholinergic compound.
Huperzine a Key Mechanisms
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor 
NMDA receptor antagonist 
Neuroprotective against hydrogen peroxide damage, glutamate excitotoxicity, and beta-amyloid pigmentation [ 2]
Neurogenic through the increased proliferation of hippocampal neural stem cells and NGF stimulation 
Upregulates REM sleep (many users report increased lucid dreaming)
Supports memory consolidation and neuroplasticity 
Synergistic with cholinomimetics and cholinosensitizers
- Wang, B. S., Wang, H., Wei, Z. H., Song, Y. Y., Zhang, L., & Chen, H. Z. (2009). Efficacy and safety of natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: an updated meta-analysis. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria: 1996), 116(4), 457–465.
- Wang, R., Yan, H., & TANG, X. C. (2006). Progress in studies of huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine 1. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 27(1), 1-26.
- Ma, T., Gong, K., Yan, Y., Zhang, L., Tang, P., Zhang, X., & Gong, Y. (2013). Huperzine A promotes hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Brain research, 1506, 35-43.