Information about ephedra.
According to anthropologists and historical linguists, the Native American peoples came across from China/Siberia at some stage in prehistory. Another fact that is certain is that several species of the Ephedra bush are found on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether it was deliberately brought into the Americas by humans is uncertain, but what is certain is that the medicinal properties of ephedra have been known about for a very, very long time.
In its natural state, the ephedra bush likes to grow in rocky dry areas, and it has long yellow-green branches with two little leaves at each end. It can be found from Europe to the Americas, with some species growing wild in the rugged areas of India and Pakistan. Several main species of ephedra are known – Ephedra sinica, Ephedra distacha, Ephedra trifurca, Ephedra viridis, Ephedra nevadensis, Ephedra Americana and Ephedra geradiana. Commonly, however, Ephedra nevandensis is known as Mormon tea or Squaw tea, and Ephedra sinica is known as Ma Huang
. Ephedra sinica is the species that has the longest recorded history of use.
It is not known how people discovered the properties of ephedra. Possibly, given the terrain that ephedra grows in, its properties were first spotted by herders who noticed the beneficial effects that the plant had on the goats that ate it – this is certainly the case in that other great thermogenic extract, caffeine. Ephedra was not, at first, prized for its weight loss benefits (this isn’t an advantage if you’re starving) or even for its ability to boost stamina, mental alertness and overall energy – although these benefits were probably noticed by cultures where endurance and alertness were needed – did the soldiers guarding the caravans of traders along the Silk Road take ephedra to help them stay alert and ready? Ephedra or ma huang
was, however, used widely in traditional Chinese medicine to treat respiratory problems such as asthma, hay fever and even the common cold, and it is still used in Chinese herbal medicines today for this reason.
But the real buzz today about ephedra or ephedrine is its ability to raise the metabolism dramatically (it is a powerful thermogenic substance). A raised metabolism burns fat more efficiently, so dramatic weight loss is often the result of taking ephedra or supplements containing ephedrine. The process of raising the metabolism also means that the body feels stimulated, alert and energetic, so ephedra works as a performance enhancer as well as a weight loss product. These two factors make ephedra a very desirable supplement for bodybuilders.
However, ephedra, like The Force in Star Wars, has its dark side. The thermogenic properties of ephedrine mean that it can cause some unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. A “jittery” feeling is common as the ephedrine takes effect, and ephedrine has been linked with health risks such as heart attacks and stroke. This means that the FDA has had an on-again, off-again relationship with ephedra and ephedrine supplements. In 2004, ephedrine was banned by the FDA, but after court action, this ban was lifted in 2005. But during its investigations, the FDA confirmed that ephedra is indeed a powerful weight loss supplement that really works (it would be interesting to compare the heart attack and stroke risk of obesity against the same risks for ephedra – for all we know, the risks of not using ephedra for weight loss could outweigh the risks of taking it. Potential project for someone’s post-graduate research, I’d say).
Currently, the rules limit the sale of products containing more than 8 mg of ephedrine alkaloids. Also, all ephedra products have to carry warning labels and can only be sold to adults. Powerhouse Supplements agrees with this, and while we sell ephedra prescription-free, we strongly warn all buyers that you should only use the product if you are over 18 and don’t have any heart problems. Always take the dosage recommended on the package and don’t exceed it – you’ll find it works well enough without overdoing it. If you’re not sure, check with your health professional first.
USE COMMON SENSE WITH EPHEDRINE OR MA HUANG!
Imagine you are crossing the street and a speeding car almost hits you. Within seconds, you begin to sweat, your heart pounds, and you feel almost out of breath. Your central nervous system has kicked in, and your adrenaline is rushing. You basically have the ability to do things physically that you couldn't have done just seconds before.
Ephedra produces a similar result.
Historically known as a Chinese herb and recently known as a powerful supplement, Ephedra Diet Pills, ephedra or ma huang, has made its mark in recent history. Its uses are numerous and its effects are powerful. Some swear by this powerful stimulants ability to help them lose weight because of its ability to temporarily suppress appetite and naturally help them burn calories with its thermogenic characteristics.
A natural herbal supplement from a desert shrub (the ma huang plant) that grows on the dry, rocky slops of Asia, ephedra has proven itself in both the health and the athletic arenas.
PERFORMANCE USES: SHED FAT AND BUILD ENDURANCE
Athletes use ephedra for its body-fat shedding and muscle-mass maintaining ability. Studies have shown that ma huang help suppress appetites, stimulate the central nervous system, and heat up the core body temperature. As your body's temperature increases, your body naturally burns more calories for fuel, thus creating a greater loss of fat. And that's why people from all walks of life are using it.
Recent research has led to the use of ephedra with caffeine and aspirin to optimize its fat-burning and stimulant effects. Researchers combine the natural herbal forms of gaurana (caffeine), ma huang (ephedrine), and white willow bark (aspirin) to create a strong supplement with a power-packed effect that helps consumers shed unwanted body fat and boost their energy levels.
MEDICAL USES: ASTHMA, FLU, AND COLDS
Used for over 5000 years, ephedra can be useful in the treatment of asthma and congestion because of its ability to clear bronchial passages creating a larger airway for easier breathing. Individuals have been using ephedra for years to fight fevers, flu's, and colds as well. Its potential to promote sweating seems to flush the common flu or cold away, and some experts suggest that it reduces the duration of a fever or can even stop the flu or cold from arriving at all.
Ephedra's strong effects can help you make desired dramatic changes in your physique by helping you lose fat while maintaining muscle mass. It can give you the zip you need before a workout on the days when your tail is dragging. It can even help you breathe easier when you normally find yourself out of breath in those intense athletic activities.
USE COMMON SENSE
Nonetheless, because of its powerful effects, ephedra should be taken with caution. Those who take it should consider the label's warnings and recommendations. Though ephedra accounts for less than 1 percent of herbs sold, it accounts for up to 64 percent of the negative reactions reported. Thus it is more than 220 times more likely to cause problems than all other herbal products combined.
Use common sense and read the warnings before taking ephedra, or don't take it at all.
All sales on products containing ephedra, ephedrine, mahuang, ma-huang or efedra are final. Buy these supplements and products before they are banned.
Some other common names and terms that people use when searching for information on ephedra:
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