Ephedra, A Dangerous Alternative

Ephedra herb

The natural ephedra herb

Ephedra is an herb. The branches and tops of Ephedra are used in the production of medicine, but you can use the whole plants or even roots only. In the United States of America, ephedra is banned because of safety concerns.

Uses of ephedra

  • Used for weight loss and obesity
  • It is used to enhance athletic performance
  • Used to treat allergies and hay fever
  • Used to help in nasal congestion
  • Used in respiratory tract conditions like bronchospasm, bronchitis and asthma
  • Used in inability to sweat, joint and bone pain

Debates about the safety of ephedra

In the past few years, there have been discussions concerning the safety of ephedra. June 1997, the FDA proposed that ephedra should be restricted on the ephedrine content in dietary supplements. The FDA added that warning labels should be on products that contain the active ingredients in Ephedra. The proposal also recommended that all combination products that contain ephedra should be banned. Along with other natural stimulants. This proposal was immediately dropped after it was challenged by General Accounting Officer (GAO) together with the dietary supplement industry. According to the statement that was given by the GAO and health Act of 1994 on Supplement Health and Education, GAO asked FDA to prove whether ephedra was unsafe as a supplement before it is withdrawn from the market.

December 30, 2003, the FDA banned the use of ephedra products in the U.S that came to effect in 2004. In 2005 April, the dietary supplement managed to challenge FDA, and the was terminated. A year later a federal Judge in Utah cancelled the ban by saying that FDA didn’t prove the side effect of ephedra when it is in small quantities. In 2006, the appeal court reversed the Utah judge decision and upheld The ban of ephedra-containing dietary supplements.
Bodies that have banned ephedra is banned

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • International Olympic Committee
  • National Football League

Ephedra products are marketed as recreational drugs. The FDA announced that ephedra products that are marketed are herbal ecstasy are unproven and misbranded hence can be taken by the authorities.

How does ephedra work?

This plant contains a chemical known as ephedrine; this chemical stimulates the heart, nervous system and the lungs.

Side effects of ephedra

You are asked not to take products that contain ephedra. This product is unlikely safe for adults and children in general. According to the FDA report, ephedra is likely to cause many life-threatening or disabling conditions to some people.

  1. Ephedra is closely associated with high blood pressure
  2. It can cause heart attack
  3. Muscle disorders
  4. Loss of consciousness and finally death
  5. This condition is very much likely when one uses ephedra in high doses or long-term use
  6. Do not use ephedra with other stimulants like caffeine. This will increase risks of having life-threatening ones
  7. Special precautions and warnings
  8. Pregnancy and breast-feeding ephedra are unsafe. This product has between likened to severe negatives effects so don’t use it
  9. Chest pain- Ephedra stimulates the heart hence causing chest pain
  10. High blood pressure- the product can worsen the condition
  11. Diabetes- ephedra can temper with sugar control in one way or the other

These are some of the side effects of ephedra. There are many negative impacts of this product, so you’re advice to stop using it.

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