(Ephedra, Ma Huang, Chinese Ephedra, Epitonin, Sida cordifolia)

Ephedra is a shrub-like plant that is found in dessert regions in central Asia. Ephedra is a stimulant containing the herbal form of ephedrine, a FDA-regulated drug found in over-the-counter asthma medications.

Ephedrine is widely used for weight loss, as an energy booster, and to enhance athletic performance. These products often contain other stimulants, such as caffeine, which may have synergistic effects and increase the potential for adverse effects. Ephedra is often touted as the "herbal fen-phen."

Ephedrine alkaloids are amphetamine-like compounds used in OTC and prescriptions drugs with potentially lethal stimulant effects on the central nervous system and heart. The FDA has received over 800 reports of adverse side effects since 1984. Ephedra is one of the most dangerous of the so-called herbal or natural dietary supplements. Botanical sources of caffeine combined with ephedrine alkaloid increases the stimulant effects of ephedrine alkaloids and the chance of injury.  The amount used and its derivatives are not governed by the FDA.

>  Hypertension
>  Palpitations ( rapid heart rate)
>  Neuropathy ( nerve damage)
>  Myopathy (muscle injury)
>  Psychosis
>  Stroke
>  Memory loss
>  Heart rate irregularities
>  Insomnia
>  Nervousness
>  Tremors
>  Seizures
>  Heart attacks
>  Death

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