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 is used as a treatment for memory loss and mental impairment.
Developed in Hungary over 20 years ago, vinpocetine is sold in Europe as a drug under the name Cavinton. In the United States it is available as a “dietary supplement,” although the substance probably doesn’t fit that category by any rational definition. Vinpocetine doesn’t exist in nature to any significant extent. Producing it requires significant chemical work performed in the laboratory.
To help enhance your memory, however, you may try the brain-nourishing herbal supplement “Super Clarity” by Traditions of Tao. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.