Researchers in the US are to study the effects of Chinese club moss, or Huperzia serrata, on brain function in Alzheimer's patients.
Early studies in China suggest that huperzine A, a compound derived from the moss, can be effective in treating the degenerative brain disease.
So far there has been no analysis of the compound's effects outside of China, but studies are now to be carried out on 150 volunteer Alzheimer's patients aged 55 and above from across the US in order to determine its safety and efficacy.
Dr Paul Aisen, leader of the new study and professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Centre's Memory Disorders Program, said: "Based on studies in China, huperzine A may be more effective and better tolerated than currently prescribed drugs for Alzheimer's disease.
"In addition, laboratory studies suggest that huperzine A may have unique effects that could slow down the progression of the disease."
He said that the US trials are essential for researchers to better understand the potential of huperzine A in treating Alzheimer's.