9 Ephedra Sinica Side Effects That are Dangerous to your Health
Ephedra sinica side effects can be serious and potentially life-threatening when the product is not used responsibly.
Chinese Ephedra Sinica (Ma Huang) has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional medicine for allergies, nasal congestion and respiratory tract conditions.
The herb contains the stimulant ingredients ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. This plant extract is also used for weight loss, obesity and to boost athletic performance.
Use of Ephedra Sinica is potentially unsafe, especially if taken for prolonged periods, used in excessive dosages or combined with other stimulants.
Herbalists argue that use of the whole herb at reasonable dosages does not cause dangerous adverse effects and that it is only the isolated use of ephedrine alkaloids in diet pills that is harmful to health.
In 2004, the FDA declared that all supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids would be banned for sale in the USA due to an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. What are the possible side effects of taking Ephedra Sinica extract and what can you do to minimize the risk? Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedra Sinica Side Effects?
Ephedra Sinica is one of 60 different species from the Ephedra plant family. It is considered to be one of the most potent species because it contains high amounts of the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine alkaloids.
Use of these alkaloids produce a number of side effects. They function as Central Nervous System stimulants and can increase heart rate and blood pressure. This can be dangerous for individuals with cardiovascular problems, hypertension and other diagnosed medical conditions.
Not everyone will experience ephedra sinica side effects, depending on body composition, tolerance levels, and sensitivity to stimulative components.
If you have a low tolerance for the stimulant effect of coffee, chances are that you will be highly sensitive to the stimulant effects of any ephedra sinica product.
Some of the adverse effects are mild and temporary in nature, while others can be quite serious. Among the more common side effects reported include:
- Heart palpitationss
- Increased sense of nervousness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
More serious side effects associated with ephedra sinica alkaloids include:
1. Potential damage to cardiovascular function. This can include but is not limited to tachycardia, arrhythmias, and potential myocardial infarction.
2. Muscle tremors, aches, weakness, myalgia, rhabdomyolysis, eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, and parkinsonism.
3. Insomnia, poor sleep quality, night sweats and frequent waking during the night.
4. Severely increased sense of anxiety or nervousness. Some users experience psychosis or Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. Depending on milligram strength, frequency of use, and length of use, some have reported changes in mood or behavior, extreme restlessness and agitation.
5. Hyperglycemia and increase in blood glucose levels, suggesting temporary insulin resistance.
6. Gastrointestinal distress including vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, heartburn and loose stools.
7. Triple the risk of stroke (subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage)
8. 27 seizures reported to the FDA related to ephedra use.
9. 3 reports of death linked to ephedra use.
While many people do appear to be able to tolerate the effects of Ephedra Sinica without experiencing negative reactions, the variability in response is high. There is also a high degree of misuse and abuse of this product, such as taking elevated dosages or using it for long periods of time.
Some of the above severe side effects are linked to use of ephedra with caffeine or other stimulant ingredients with it. The more stimulants taken at once or in a stack, the increased risk of experiencing negative side effects.
Sources also suggest that many of the products that caused side effects listed above contained synthetic forms of ephedrine HCL instead of the natural ephedra sinica plant extract.
Some sources claim that the whole plant is safer than these isolated extracts due to the presence of other alkaloids that counterbalance some of the effects. However, this has not been conclusively shown in any research studies.
Individuals with any type of medical condition should discuss use of ephedra sinica with their doctor before taking this product. This ingredient has the potential to negatively interact or interfere with a number of pharmaceutical drugs, over the counter medications and other herbal products.
It is also recommended that women who are pregnant or are planning on become pregnant avoid use of stimulative products such as ephedra in any form. This product should not be used by individuals under the age fo 18.
Ephedra Sinica Effects
The main reason that people use ephedra sinica extract today is to promote fat loss, boost energy levels and enhance physical performance.
However, this plant has a long history of medicinal use and is considered to be one of the most important herbs in traditional medicine practices around the world. What are the positive ephedra sinica effects that contribute to its widespread use?
Ephedra sinica (Chinese Ma Huang) is just one species of the ephedra plant family. It is considered to be one of the more potent species because it provides a high concentration of:
Numerous other bioactive compounds are also found in all ephedra species. But most of the attributes of this plant are attributed to the presence of ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine.
It is these ephedra alkaloids that promote a stimulant effect on the nervous system. Both of these alkaloids increase the activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine and stimulate receptors for catecholamine hormones throughout the brain, body and heart.
Some of the ways in which Ephedra Sincia works include:
- Causes blood vessels to constrict. This increases blood pressure and circulation through the body.
- Increases heart rate, causing the heart to beat faster and with more force.
- Dilates or widens airway passages improving oxygen delivery and airflow through nasal, sinus passages and lungs.
- Boosts energy metabolism and breakdown of stored fat.
- Increases body temperature, resulting in more calories being burned.
- Exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Increases workout performance and power output
For dieters and athletes, the effects of Ephedra Sincia on metabolism, energy levels and appetite are purported to support fat loss.
Research shows that use of ephedrine with caffeine can enhance thermogenesis, causing individuals to convert more fat into heat. This results in reduced body mass index (BMI) and higher resting metabolic rate (RMR).
Some studies have suggested that ephedra sinica effects, especially in regard to weight loss, may produce minimal to moderate benefits for some, but must always be included with a balanced diet and appropriate levels and intensity of exercise.
The average weight loss tends to be approximately one to two pounds per month over that of someone who is not using the product. For many, this is not worth the side effects often linked to its use.
While there is research to suggest that Ephedra is effective for weight loss, the possibility of significant negative effects means that the risks may outweigh the benefits. Especially in obese individuals, use of stimulants to promote weight loss could put additional strain on the heart and result in dangerous outcomes.
Ephedra uses have changed over time. In ancient medical practices, ephedra was used predominantly for treatment of breathing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, stuffy noses and the common cold.
Some cultures pounded up portions of ephedra plants and used them in poultices to aid in wound healing. Ma Huang tea was also used to relieve joint pain, arthritis, fever, chills and to improve headaches and as a diuretic.
In traditional Chinese medicine, this herb was used to treat chi and yin deficiency. It is considered to be a “pungent and warm” herb that can induce sweating and dispel cold. It was also used to “ventilate and descend the lung qi.”
Currently, the herb is better known for its fat burning and energy-enhancing effects. The way that it is used today does not reflect the way it was used in traditional, historic, and folklore medical practices around the world.
It is also important to note that traditional medicine practices would prescribe the whole herb as opposed to using isolated extracts of the ephedrine alkaloids. Ephedra sinica would also be used at a much lower dosage and would not be combined with other stimulant agents.
Currently, the FDA has banned the use of this plant in dietary supplements for the promotion of weight loss. However, it is still legal in the USA as a herbal medicine preparation when dispensed by a qualified herbalist.
Do all forms of ephedra produce results and/or side effects? No, some ephedra species do not contain high amounts of the alkaloids pseudoephedrine or ephedrine.
The side effects linked to ephedra sinica use are generally attributed to the high concentration of these alkaloids in the plant.
In 2004, the FDA banned the use of ephedra containing ephedrine and its other alkaloids for sale in dietary supplements. They found that there was too great a risk of negative effects from using these products.
However, there are other forms of ephedra extract with the alkaloids removed that are still legal in weight loss supplements. These products will likely have fewer side effects than ephedra sinica, but they will also be less effective for fat loss.
Before considering use of ephedra-based diet pills, it is important to consult with a doctor about potential side effects, contraindications and responsible use. Do not use this product if you have a history of high blood pressure, cardiovascular health problems or if you are currently taking MAOI drugs.