Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, February 23, 2012
Ephedra refers to the plant Ephedra sinica.E. sinica, known in Chinese as ma huanghas been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for the treatment of asthma and hay fever, as well as for the common cold.Several additional species belonging to the genus Ephedra have traditionally been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, and are a possible candidate for the Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion. Native Americans and Mormon pioneers drank a tea brewed from an Ephedra, called Mormon Tea or Indian Tea.Mormon Tea (Ephedra funerea) growing in the wild in the Fiery Furnace area of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. In recent years, the safety of ephedra-containing dietary supplements has been questioned by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the medical community as a result of a high rate of serious side effects and ephedra-related deaths.In response to accumulating evidence of adverse effects and deaths related to ephedra, the FDA banned the sale of ephedra-containing supplements on April 12, 2004.A suit by an ephedra manufacturer was upheld by a Federal District Court judge in Utah on April 14, 2005. The FDA appealed this ruling, and on August 17, 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the FDA's ban of ephedra.
Effects and uses
Ephedra is both a stimulant and a thermogenic; its biological effects are due to its ephedrine and pseudoephedrine content These compounds stimulate the brain, increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expand bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic properties cause an increase in metabolism, evidenced by an increase in body heat.
There are no formal requirements for standardization or quality control of dietary supplements in the United States, and the dosage of effective ingredients in supplements may vary widely from brand to brand or batch to batchStudies of ephedra supplements have found significant discrepancies between the labeled dose and the actual amount of ephedra in the product. Significant variation in ephedrine alkaloid levels, by as much as 10-fold, was seen even from lot to lot within the same brand.