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Ephedra Reviews

What Is Ephedra (ma-huang)?

The Ephedra Sivica is a shrub-like plant more commonly known as Ephedra or Ma huang among the Chinese who have used it as an herbal extract for more than 5,000years. It is native to the Chinese and Mongolian regions and contains sympathomimetic chemicals referred to as Ephedra alkaloids that have been traditionally used for various ailments like bronchial constriction, water retention, common colds and fevers.


The active ingredient had been isolated in 1887 but it was until 1924 when the herb gained popularity among US doctors in treating respiratory problems as a bronchial dilator and decongestant.


In recent times, these same alkaloids have been found to posses fat-burning properties when blended with caffeine or botanical caffeine sources like Guarana that have synergistic effects in reducing weight.



How Does Ephedra (ma-huang) Work For Weight Loss?

Ephedra’s claim to health benefits is anchored on its alkaloid content ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which comprise 30% to 90% of its total chemical composition depending on plant species variation. These alkaloids stimulate the central nervous system, elevate blood pressure, increase heart rate and dilate bronchial air passages.


While stimulating the nervous system, Ephedrine increases the metabolic rate of adipose tissues and the amount of food that gets converted to heat (thermogenesis), disabling the body to convert food to fat and thus control weight gain in people with low metabolism.  Its action on the nervous system also extends to suppressing the appetite.


Recent lab studies indicated that weight loss of up to 2 lbs per month can be achieved with Ephedra-based supplements. For such minimal weigh loss benefits, its safety concerns outweigh them.



Is Ephedra (ma-huang) Safe?

Ephedra-based supplements comprised only about 1 % of all dieting supplements in the US health markets in 2001 but accounted for 64% of all reported adverse side effects for natural and herbal supplements during the same year. For a while, it became a popular weight loss supplement among dieters, until the FDA banned it in December 2003 following the death of Major League baseball pitcher for the Orioles Steve Bechler after using Ephedra to lose weight.


Despite the banning, Ephedra can be obtained online. While it has long history of acceptable weight loss efficacy, prospective users are advised to consult with their doctors before taking one as Ephedra is not recommended to pregnant and lactating women and those with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and thyroid disease.


Safe dosage is often pegged at no more than 150mg per day or it can lead to amphetamine-like side effects like:

High blood pressure


Palpitations and arrhythmias


Even death due to cardiac arrest





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