Ephedrine is a weight loss supplement that also goes under the names Ma Huang and Ephedra. The plant that this supplement comes from is called an Ephedra plant, but it has several common names, including Mormon tea and squaw tea. This plant is like a shrub, and it is native to the desert regions of Asia and other areas of the world. There are medicinal uses for the dried greens of the plant, and it has been referred to as herbal fen-fen. It is used in many over the counter asthma medications as well as some prescription drugs. This plant has a stimulant effect, and may cause problems with people who have any medical or heart conditions. Many weight loss supplements that contain this herb also contain caffeine, and this can become a serious issue as this is also a stimulant. By combining these two stimulants together, the risk of adverse side effects is greatly increased.
The two main active ingredients in the Ephedra plant are the alkaloids psuedoephedrine and ephedrine. These alkaloids are compounds that act like amphetamines, and they have a stimulant effect on the central nervous system and the heart, sometimes with lethal results. Some of the side effects from too much of these alkaloids are hypertension, rapid heart rate, muscle injuries, nerve damage, stroke, psychosis, tremors, nervousness, heart attack, and death among others. This diet supplement should be taken with extreme caution, as there are many side effects if too much of the plant is taken.
Ephedrine has many uses besides a weight loss supplement. It is used to treat congestion, as a concentration aid, to treat narcolepsy, to treat nocturnal enuresis, and as treatment in the overdoses of drugs that cause a drop in blood pressure. Ephedrine has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for bronchitis and asthma for hundreds of years.
Weight loss supplements that are thermogenic, or fat burning, usually have a component called an ECA stack. This stack is normally made up of caffeine, ephedrine, and aspirin or salicin. These three components work together to speed up the metabolism of the body, which causes you to burn food energy and stored body fat faster and more efficiently. The ECA stack is frequently used by body builders right before a work out because of the increased energy levels.
For a long time ephedrine was recommended with promethazine in equal amounts to combat sea sickness. The promethazine keeps the nausea away but causes drowsiness, so the ephedrine combats the drowsiness. This drug has been regulated in the U.S.A, and there are restrictions on the use and purchase of products that contain ephedrine.