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ma huang (generic name)

an herbal product - treats Sexual arousal, Bronchodilator, Weight loss, Low blood pressure, and Allergic nasal symptoms
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Alternate Title

Ma huang

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Amp II, amsania, brigham tea, budshur, cao Ma huang (Chinese), cathine, chewa, Chinese ephedra, Chinese joint fir, D-pseudoephedrine, desert herb, desert tea, dextro-rotatory, EPH 833, Ephedra altissima, Ephedra americana, Ephedra anti-syphilitica, Ephedra distacha, Ephedra distachya, Ephedra equisetina (Mongolian Ephedra), Ephedra fasciculate, Ephedra geradiana, Ephedra helvetica, Ephedra intermedia (intermediate ephedra), Ephedra likiangensis, Ephedra major, Ephedra minuta, Ephedra monosperma, Ephedra nevadensis, Ephedra przewalskii, Ephedra sinica, Ephedra shennungiana, Ephedra trifurca, Ephedra viridis, Ephedra vulgaris, Ephedraceae (family), ephedra alkaloids, Ephedra distachya, Ephedra intermedia, Ephedra nebrodensis, Ephedra przewalskii, Ephedra regeliana, Ephedra sinica, Ephedra soup medicines, ephedrae herba, ephedrine, ephedrine alkaloids, ephedrine hydrochloride, ephedrine sulphate, ephedroid, epicatechin, epitonin, European ephedra, Gnetales, herba ephedrae, horsetail, hum, huma, Indian joint fir, intermediate ephedra, isoephedrine, joint fir, khama, L-ephedrine, levorotatory ephedrine, mahoàng, máhuáng, "Mao" (Chinese), mao-kon, mahuuanggen, methylephedine, methylephedrine, methylpseudoephedine, Mexican tea, môc tac ma hoàng, Mongolian ephedra, Mormon tea, mu-tsei-ma-huang, muzei mu huang, natural ecstasy, neuropeptide Y, norephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, O-coumaric acid beta-D-glucopyranoside (nebrodenside B), O-coumaric acid glucoside, phok, popotillo, pseudoephedrine, quinoline, san-ma-huang, sea grape, shrubby, soma, song tuê ma hoàng, squaw tea, synephrine, tannins, teamster's tea, trun aa hoàng, tsao-ma-huang, tutgantha, yellow astringent, yellow horse, zhong Ma huang.

Note: There are approximately 40 species of ephedra.

Background

On February 6, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule prohibiting the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (ephedra) because such supplements present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. The rule became effective 60 days from the date of publication.

In 2005 this rule was struck down in Utah but reversed again four months later, so ephedra is currently banned throughout the United States. It remains unclear whether ephedra will re-appear on the market, despite widespread acknowledgement of significant safety risks, including serious potential cardiovascular events or death.

Ephedra sinica, a species of ephedra (ma huang), contains the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which have been found to induce central nervous system stimulation, bronchodilation, and vasoconstriction. In combination with caffeine, ephedrine appears to elicit weight loss (in trials of 1-12 months duration). However, studies of ephedra or ephedrine monotherapy have been equivocal. Numerous trials have documented the efficacy of ephedrine in the management of asthmatic bronchoconstriction and hypotension. However, commercial preparations of non-prescription supplements containing ephedra have not been systematically studied for these indications.

Major safety concerns have been associated with ephedra or ephedrine use, including hypertension (high blood pressure), tachycardia, CNS excitation, arrhythmia, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke.

Despite widely publicized safety concerns and the highly publicized 2003 death of a U.S. major league baseball pitcher thought to be related to ephedra, prior to the ban on ephedra, 14% of individuals using non-prescription weight-loss products in the United States continued to take ephedra or ephedrine-containing products.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Weight loss: Ephedra contains the chemical ephedrine, which appears to cause weight loss when used in combination with caffeine, based on the available scientific evidence. The results of research on ephedrine alone without caffeine are unclear. The amounts of ephedrine in commercially available products have varied widely. Other weight loss treatments have been more commonly recommended due to significant safety concerns with combination products containing ephedra and caffeine.
Grade: A

Bronchodilator (asthma): Ephedra contains the chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are bronchodilators (expand the airways to assist in easier breathing). It has been used and studied to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in both children and adults. Other treatments, such as beta-agonist inhalers (for example, albuterol), are more commonly recommended due to safety concerns with ephedra or ephedrine.
Grade: B

Allergic nasal symptoms (used as a nose wash): Early studies suggest that ephedrine nasal spray, a chemical in ephedra, may help treat symptoms of nasal allergies. Additional research is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Low blood pressure: Chemicals in ephedra can stimulate the heart, increase heart rate, and raise blood pressure. Ephedrine, a component of ephedra, is sometimes used in hospitals to help control blood pressure. However, the effects of over-the-counter ephedra supplements taken by mouth are not well described in this area.
Grade: C

Sexual arousal: Early small studies suggest that ephedra may increase sexual arousal in women. Further well-designed research is needed to confirm these results.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Alertness, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), anti-inflammatory, antiviral, appetite suppressant, arthritis, athletic performance enhancer, bed-wetting, body building, colds, cough, depression, diuretic, dyspnea (shortness of breath), edema, fatigue, fevers, flu, freckle-removing, gonorrhea, gout, hives, joint pain, kidney disease, lack of perspiration, liver spots, metabolic enhancement, myasthenia gravis, narcolepsy, nephritis, stimulant, syphilis, upper respiratory tract infections, uterine stimulant.

Dosing

Adults (18 years or older)

Note : The U.S. Federal Government has banned the sale of ephedra since 2004. Consumers are urged to stop using the herbal weight control supplement immediately as it has been linked to numerous adverse health effects including death.

Ephedra may cause serious adverse effects in any dose, particularly when used with other drugs such as caffeine. Because of serious safety concerns, ephedra cannot be recommended in any dose.

Children (younger than 18 years)

Ephedrine is not recommended in children due to the risk of toxicity and death.

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