Huperzine A is an extract from club moss that works to raise levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and has been shown to increase the learning functions of the brain.
Huperzine A has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the herb Huperzia serrata and was traditionally used to treat memory loss. Specifically, it raises the neurotransmitter acetylcholine levels in the brain by changing how the molecule is metabolized. This mechanism is comparable to how some pharmaceuticals work to improve memory, though huperzine A is generally reported to be safer with less side effects.
Beyond increasing acetylcholine, new studies are showing huperzine has multiple effects on neurons. It increases neurogenesis, the process of making new neurons. In animals, it has been shown to do this particularly in the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in memory. At the same time, it acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and protects cells and their mitochondria from iron and plaque buildup related to the progression of Alzheimer’s. Like CDP-choline, it appears it is supportive in spinal cord injury. Lastly, it appears huperzine could even improve mood.
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that assists the brain in times of stress and fatigue. It maintains cognitive functions, and also improves general sense of well being.
Known for its ability to assist brain function in response to stress and fatigue, this adaptogenic compound herb helps maintain cognitive functions such as memory and intelligence, and provides improvement in both subjective well-being and mental energy levels. In one recent study of caregivers experiencing burnout, it was additionally found to provide improvement in measures such as loss of zest for life and irritability.
In the brain, Rhodiola has certain unique effects of protecting brain cells, including the stem cells, from inflammation and injury from toxins; in the setting of injury, it can promote neuro neuronal healing. It supports the immune system and may have a direct antifungal activity, e.g. against the yeast Candida. It also increases blood flow and serotonin levels, and has shown similar power to help depression as pharmaceutical antidepressants. It may also be protective against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, and increase lifespan.
It has been studied that human cells emit a variety of different type of energies. Rhodiola has been shown to regulate one of these emissions—weak biophoton emissions—in a manner similar to meditation. This effect is thought to be due to a reduction in the production of free radicals.