The extract of periwinkle plant, vinpocetine, is one the smart drugs to hit the United States. Vinpocetine was originally researched by Hungarian doctors and was found to reduce memory problems, dizziness and the effects of stroke. It helps the brain use glucose and oxygen more easily and boosts some of the chemicals necessary for normal transmission of information. It also helps the brain retain information. It protects the nerve and brain cells from damage due to oxygen starvation and eases the blood flow by reducing its stickiness.

There have been over 100 trials on the effects of vinpocetine and most of these show some benefits. In one report, which studied 3,000 patients who took the supplement, 70% said that they experienced 'some improvement'. No side effects were observed.

Vinpocetine is used in the treatment of dizziness, vertigo anxiety, difficulty in sleeping and transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs), as well as with memory problems. It may also help in cases of macular degeneration, glaucoma and hearing problems.

The suggested use is one or two 5mg tablets three times a day, but this should be continued for at least a year for maximum results.

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