Category Archives: Memory

Ginkgo for every age?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Can a person of any age take ginkgo to improve brain function? A: Yes! Ginkgo is one of the most widely studied plants. The leaf of the ginkgo tree is shaped like a human brain, and some believe this is why, in Asia, it has always had a reputation of benefiting…

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Is huperzine A an herb?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Huperzine A is plant-derived; does that make it an herbal remedy? A: Huperzine A (HUP-er-zeen) is an extremely potent chemical derived from a particular type of club moss (Huperzia serrata). Like caffeine and cocaine, huperzine A is a medicinally active, plant-derived chemical that belongs to the class known as alkaloids. It…

Also posted in Herbs and Supplements, Q&A |

Is vincopectine a natural treatment for memory loss?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I have heard that vinpocetine is very useful as a treatment for memory loss. Is it actually a natural treatment? A: Vinpocetine (vin-PO-se-teen) is a chemical derived from vincamine, a constituent found in the leaves of common periwinkle (Vinca minor L.) as well as the seeds of various African plants that…

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How does huperzine A work?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, How does huperzine A work when it is taken for Alzheimer’s disease? A: Huperzine A inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (uh-SEE-tul-co-lin-ES-ter-ase). This enzyme breaks down acetylcholine, which seems to play an important role in mental function. When the enzyme that breaks it down is inhibited, acetylcholine levels in the brain tend to…

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Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Does huperzine A help with Alzheimer’s disease? A: Huperzine A (HUP-er-zeen) is an extremely potent chemical derived from a particular type of club moss (Huperzia serrata). This substance is really more a drug than an herb, but it is sold over the counter as a dietary supplement for memory loss and…

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Phosphatidylserine useful for Alzheimer’s?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Is phosphatidylserine useful in treating Alzheimer’s? A: Like ginkgo, the supplement phosphatidylserine (PS) is widely used in Europe to treat various forms of dementia as well as normal age-related memory loss. Phosphatidylserine is one of the many substances involved in the structure and maintenance of cell membranes. Overall, the evidence for…

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Effectiveness of ginkgo for Alzheimer’s?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I am hearing a lot about ginkgo’s ability to treat Alzheimer’s. How effective is it really? A: A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the results of a yearlong, double-blind trial of ginkgo in over 300 people with Alzheimer’s or non-Alzheimer’s dementia. Participants were given…

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Ginkgo and Alzheimer’s?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Can you tell me a little more about ginkgo and its effectiveness with Alzheimer’s? A: The most well-established herbal treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (and, indeed, one of the few herbs that probably deserves the description “proven effective”) is the ancient herb Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo, the oldest surviving species of tree, has…

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Natural treatments for Alzheimer’s?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Are there any natural ways to treat Alzheimer’s? A: There are at least three natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease with significant scientific evidence behind them: ginkgo, phosphatidylserine, and acetyl-L-carnitine. Huperzine A and vinpocetine, while not technically natural substances, may also improve mental function. To help enhance your memory you may try…

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How to treat memory loss?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, How can memory loss be treated? A: Most people over the age of 40 experience some memory loss. We don’t know what causes this normal experience, and there is no conventional treatment available to treat it. Ginkgo has been proven useful for ordinary age-related memory loss. One study followed 60 individuals…

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