A Cochrane review looked at six trials, involving 454 patients, on Chinese club moss extract (Huperzine A).
Researchers said the trials suggested Alzheimer’s patients who took the extract had general improved cognitive function, functional performance and reduced behavioural disturbance compared to those on placebo.
They said previous research has show that the extract can block acetyl cholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine. Damage to acetylcholine-containing neurons is thought to be involved in causing Alzheimer’s.
‘These findings are based on a small number of trials, but the data indicate that it would be well worth setting up some more high quality assessments of this interesting drug,’ said lead author Hongmei Wu, associate professor in geriatrics at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University.