Ma Huang (also known as ephedra), is a herb that has been used for over 5,000 years by the Chinese as a decongestant, antihistamine, as well as being used to treat respiratory ailments like asthma.
There are various varieties of “ephedra,” some of which contain very little of the main active ingredient… ephedrine. The two most popular herbs used in ephedra supplements are Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica), and Country Mallow (Sida cordifolia). Ma Huang’s active ingredient, ephedrine, has been shown to posses powerful fat burning characteristics. It’s also a potent stimulant, and a when synthesized into ephedrine HCl, is known medicinally as a sympathomimetic. Incidentally, it’s both an alpha and a beta adrenergic agent.
This being so, it wasn’t so long ago that many popular fat burners on the market today contained ephedra in some form or other.
Today, of course, ephedra is illegal in many countries including the United States. Some time ago, the ban against ephedra was appealed and then lifted. Today, however, that latest decision has too been reversed and ephedra is once again illegal in the U.S. (although you can still find it being sold online).
If you’re a fan of ephedra. ephedrine or the old ephedrine-based fat burners (remember the original Hydroxycut and Xenadrine Rfa-1 formulas?), there is some hope…
There is a way to get your ephedra… safely and legally.
Ephedra has now become a fairly controversial supplement, and although I believe the dangers of smart use of the substance have been grossly exaggerated by the media, you need to exercise some caution when taking this drug. This is a potent stimulant, and should not be used by any one with high blood pressure, a history of heart problems, and that sort of thing.
If you do buy ephedra somewhere, remember that product labels have become somewhat deceiving. Often ephedrine content is hidden behind claims of an “all-natural” formulation, and ingredient labels list the herb from which the ingredient is derived. If you’re not immediately aware that sida cordifolia, country mallow, or ma huang are standardized for their ephedra content, you won’t be aware that you are taking a potentially dangerous supplement.
That said, most products you can find that still containing ephedrine only contain 8-10 mg per serving, and are not combined with any other stimulants (like caffeine, synephrine, etc.). This is a pretty moderate dose, and will probably be tolerated well by people who do not have pre-exiting conditions prohibiting them from taking this drug.