Ephedra And Mahuang

AKA: Dymetadrine 25, Ephedra gerardiana (Pakistani ephedra), Ephedra nevadensis (American ephedra, Brigham Young weed, cowboy tea, desert herb, Mormon tea, squaw tea, teamster's tea, whorehouse tea), Ephedra sinica (Chinese ephedra, ma-huang), epitonin.

Effects: Chinese and Pakistani ephedra contain ephedrine, a strong central nervous system stimulant.'American ephedra contains norpseudoephedrine, which may be even more powerful. It increases adrenaline production, heart rate, and blood pressure.

It is said to be useful in the treatment of asthma (by dilating the bronchioles), narcolepsy, nasal congestion, and allergies. Some claim it helps to burn off fat and contribute to weight loss. Ephedra sinica may contain a substance that prevents the growth of the Influenza B virus. Dymetadrine 25 is an over-the-counter drug that is pure ephedrine.

Traditional Chinese medicine has used it in conjunction with other herbs.

Precautions: It should not be used by persons who suffer from anxiety attacks (panic disorder), diabetes, elevated thyroid, glaucoma, heart disease, hypertension, or high blood pressure, or by those who have a history of abusing stimulant drugs. Those who are underweight, sedentary, subsisting on a poor diet, recovering from an illness, suffering from extreme stress, have sleep problems, or who have a weak digestive system may find that ma huang may make them feel more stressed out and run down.

The effects wear off rapidly, so that larger and larger doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Large doses can cause headache, nervousness, nausea, palpitations, dizziness, difficult urination, insomnia, and chest pain. Overuse may also lead to a condition called the serotonin syndrome, where serotonin levels in the body are too high, and which is characterized by restlessness, confusion, sweating, diarrhea, excessive salivation, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, rapid heart rate, tremors, and seizures. There are twenty reported cases of ephedrine psychosis attributed to overuse, and attempts by individuals to obtain a high have led to a few deaths. Its use in treating allergies, asthma, and congestion has largely been replaced by more effective drugs that exhibit fewer side effects. Ephedra could cause a positive response on a drug test for amphetamine use.

It should not be combined with MAO inhibitor drugs or 5-HTP. Bodybuilders often take 100 mg of caffeine, 50 mg of ephedrine, and one aspirin three times a day for "cutting up" (reducing fat and increasing muscle definition), though this is not recommended, as the caffeine-ephedra combination may have been responsible for almost two dozen deaths in recent years. Proponents of ephedra say the evidence is inconclusive, particularly since ephedra has been used for much of recorded history, and ephedra-based alkaloids are found in numerous over-the-counter remedies that have been used by millions, many of whom also regularly drink caffeinated beverages.

Dosage: James A. Duke, Ph.D., recommends one level teaspoon of the dried herb or one-half to one teaspoon of the tincture, though he cautions that this should only be done after consultation with a doctor. The FDA does not recommend more than 24 mg of ephedrine a day.

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