If taken in recommended doses, is ephedra / Ma Huang considered safe?
One cannot say if ephedra or Ma Huang is safe for everyone. It depends on the physiology of the individual. Consulting with a medical doctor about the effects of these herbs would be the safest route to take. We have provided information regarding the negative effects that ephedrine can cause. Hopefully it will help to answer some of your questions regarding this herb.
Ephedrine is used as a decongestant and bronchiodialator. Those with allergies, asthma, colds, depression and obesity commonly use it. For aesthetic purposes, ephedrine acts to decrease appetite and increase energy output, resulting in fat loss. Ma Huang is a source of ephedrine.
The typical dose of ephedrine is 30-60 mg., taken orally, 3-4 times a day. However, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to issue health warnings concerning ephedrine. The FDA has recommended limiting ephedrine levels in herbal products to 8mg/serving and that it should not be taken for more than 7days.
Consuming ephedrine with caffeine products (i.e. coffee, tea, cola, certain over-the-counter medications) or other stimulants increases the risks of side effects. Also, exercising after ingesting ephedrine can raise the heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
Symptoms of Higher doses:
- Rapid pulse
- Respiratory difficulties
- Heart attack
Ephedrine should not be used by persons with anxiety disorders (panic attacks), glaucoma, heart conditions, high blood pressure, or those who are taking MAO inhibitor drugs.
Note: In some states, ephedrine sales are against the law.