Ephedra has been part of traditional Chinese herbal medicine for hundreds of years, and used to treat asthma, hay fever, and common colds.
Ephedra Side Effects Can Be Severe
Ephedra, in a synthetic form, is used in over-the-counter medications with brand names such as Sudafed and Actifed. Dietary supplements containing Ephedra have been linked to serious side effects including, but not limited to, heart attacks, strokes, and a number of fatalities triggering wrongful death lawsuits.
The Food and Drug Administratio (FDA) can only regulate dietary supplements proven to be unsafe. Drug companies, however, have attempted to produce a “legal” amphetamine by mixing ephedrine with other stimulants such as caffeine. A study commissioned by the National Institutes of Health found limited evidence of ephedra’s effect on short-term weight loss. Ephedra also has been used as a performance enhancement substance in certain physical activities, although the study found minimal evidence of any positive effect on performance. Risks associated with ephedra include heart palpitations, psychiatric side-effects, and upper gastrointestinal effects, among others.