ephedra Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is ephedra?
Ephedra Sinica is an herb which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and is considered the world's oldest medicine. (There are other varieties of ephedra - vulgaris, nevadensis and antisyphilitica, which are not referred to in this website.) Ephedra sinica is also known as ma-huang in Chinese. Most naturally growing ephedra is found in temperate climates, in China, Mongolia, Southern Siberia and Japan, usually on sandy seashores.
2) What does ephedra do?
The active ingredient in ephedra is naturally occurring ephedrine, a alkaloid salt which is a sympathetic nerve stimulant resembling adrenaline, but less potent than amphetamine. Its stimulating properties have an energizing effect making it useful for dieting and for use as a smartdrug. Ephedrine opens bronchial passages, stimulates the heart, increases blood pressure, metabolic rate, perspiration and urine production. It reduces the secretion of both saliva and stomach acids. It acts on unstriped muscle fibers relieving swellings of mucous membranes. Ephedra is used medicinally for the relief of asthma, allergies, colds, hay fever and rheumatism.
3) Is ephedra safe?
The FDA has ruled that ephedra is NOT safe. However, many authorities consider this question controversial. To answer this question for yourself, please see the following links: