There are currently 32
known species of ephedra, ephedra sinica (Ma Huang) and ephedra viridis
(Mormon Tea) being the two most commonly used varieties. Ephedrine (an alkaloid), the the most
sought-after ingredient in ephedra, is responsible for the majority of ephedra's
effects on the body. However, not all varieties of ephedra contain it. Ephedra
sinica is known for having the strongest concentration of ephedrine while
ephedra viridis is known for usually not containing any ephedrine alkaloid.
The majority of this website was developed
prior to the ban on ephedra and its contents reflect the interest at that time.
So unless otherwise stated, when the word ephedra is used in this website, it
refers to the ephedra sinica variety. As new material is added, the discussion
will shift to legal varieties of ephedra and alternatives.
Ephedra (also known as Ma huang, Chinese
Ephedra and epitonin) is the worlds oldest medicine. The Chinese
discovered ephedra more than 5000 years ago. Research has shown that
ephedra increases metabolism and helps promote weight loss, relaxes the air
passages in the lungs to help treat asthma and cough, promotes perspiration to
help a person recover from a minor cold and helps promote urination to help
relieve edema. It was probably not used for weight loss until modern, food
Ephedra has been widely researched for its thermogenic
(fat burning) properties. Research has show that ephedra helps promote the
loss of fat while helping spare lean muscle tissue, a highly sought-after property that prescription
diet medications still have not been able to reproduce.
Herbal Phen-Fen, a popular herbal
formulation used for dieting, is a combination of ephedra and St. Johns Wort.
The ECA Stack (ephedra, caffeine, aspirin) has been
used by bodybuilders to burn fat, and increase energy.
It is widely believed that the alkaloids
in ephedra are the principal ingredient that gives ephedra its fat burning
qualities. Alkaloids are a stimulant that increase metabolism.
The FDA's ban of ephedra only pertains to the natural alkaloid containing varieties for use as dietary supplements.
The ban also does not apply to any variety of ephedra for use as tea or Oriental medicine, nor does it apply to the
pharmaceutical industry, to its over-the-counter sale of ephedrine alkaloids.
For FDA information on ephedra,
please see the ephedra.com
As ephedra is a stimulant and a
thermogenic, it should NOT be used by people / in situations where these
properties might be harmful. There are some common sense rules about using
Do not use ephedra if you have any medical
problems as the use of a stimulant might overtax your system. Do not use
ephedra if your activity / environment will prevent you from dissipating heat.
Your body core temperature might exceed safe levels. And do not take
more than the manufacturer's recommended amount.
What this means is: If you have a heart
condition, do not take ephedra. And if you plan to wear clothes to raise
your body temperature, do not take ephedra. And know that you can die
simply by working out. So consider that taking ephedra while exercising may add to
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