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huperzine AChinese medicine
An ACE (acetylcholinesterase)-inhibiting sesquiterpene alkaloid found in the plant firmoss (Huperzia serrata). While not FDA-approved for such, it is sold in the US as a memory-enhancing dietary supplement; it is used in traditional Chinese medicine for oedema, fever and blood dyscrasia. Like tacrine, HA increases synaptic acetylcholine by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase; early data suggests that it may have some benefit in patients with Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and in myasthenia gravis.
Mild cholinergic effects, as well as dyspnoea, chest pain, rash, pruritus, gastritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, hyperactivity and insomnia.