What’s that plant?

plants clinic

What's that in the clinic?

Patients & visitors have been intrigued by our hanging plants in the clinic. Unsurprisingly, we’ve been getting questions about them – and the most frequently asked are “are they real?” and “what are they?”.

We have featured the Blue Clubmoss, Huperzia goebelii (previously known as Lycopodium goebelii) as in our clinic. And yes, those are real – with practical function & significance too.

Huperzia goebelii

Privacy & Relaxation

First and foremost, they provide a soothing and natural privacy screen for our patients while at the waiting area. The impact of plants on our emotional well-being has also been extensively studied, and have been associated with:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced distress and fatigue
  • Stress reduction

Less well-known though, is the fact that this group of plants were the original source of a plant alkaloid, Huperzine A, which is being investigated for potential use in treating Alzheimer’s Dementia.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A is a plant alkaloid usually isolated from Huperzia serrata but also present in other Huperzia species. Pharmacologically, it behaves as a reversible Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor and NMDA Receptor Agonist. These are the 2 most commonly-targeted brain signalling mechanisms in current dementia treatment medications.

Huperzine A had been studied for its potential in treating degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dementia. Although some previous studies found that Huperzine A may be useful in improving memory (cognitive function) and activities in daily living for people with Alzheimer’s Dementia, results are still inconclusive and more robust research is needed for this potential treatment.


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Park, S. H., & Mattson, R. H. (2009). Therapeutic influences of plants in hospital rooms on surgical recovery. HortScience, 44(1), 102-105.
Bringslimark, Tina, Terry Hartig, and Grete G. Patil. “The psychological benefits of indoor plants: A critical review of the experimental literature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 29.4 (2009): 422-433.
Li, J., Wu, H. M., Zhou, R. L., Liu, G. J., & Dong, B. R. (2008). Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s disease. The Cochrane Library.
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Yang, G., Wang, Y., Tian, J., & Liu, J. P. (2013). Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PloS one, 8(9), e74916.