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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 abundant times.

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.


Safety

For FDA information on ephedra, please see the ephedra.com FDA page.

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 ephedra:

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 the risk.


Some other common names and terms that people use when searching for information on ephedra:

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Due to liability concerns, we can not provide any health or legal information regarding ephedra.  Also, we no longer have time to respond to individual emails. If you want to share your thoughts about ephedra or have ideas on how to get it legalized in the USA once again, please visit the ephedra forum on yahoolink to the ephedra forum on yahoo.

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Disclaimer: ephedra.com accepts no responsibility and will not be held liable for the information provided here or for orders placed through links posted on this site. The information is intended for educational purposes only, without any assurance of accuracy, and should not be relied upon or used as legal or medical advice. Do not use this information as a substitute for the advice of a licensed health care provider in diagnosing or treating a health problem. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before making any decisions regarding your health and well-being.

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