Page Content
  1. Introduction
  2. What ephedra is used for
  3. How ma huang is used
  4. Science Says
  5. Cautions and side effects



Ephedra sinica is also known as Chinese-ephedra and ma huang. It is native to Mongolia and Central Asia. The main active ingredient is ephedrine. Ephedrine is a compound, which powerfully stimulates the heart and nervous system.

What ma huang is used for


Ma huang is used in Chinese medicine; in fact, it has been used for over five thousand years in China as well as India.In Chinese herbology, it is used in numerous herbal formulas to treat flu's and colds.

Other species belonging that belong to the ma huang family have been historically used for numerous medicinal purposes. Mormon pioneers as well as Native Americans drank a tea, which was brewed from the Ma huang family called Mormon Tea

How ma huang is used


The leaves as well as the dried stems are used to make tablets, capsules, teas, tinctures and extracts.

Science Says


Ephedra contains the chemical ephedrine, which appears to cause weight loss when used in combination with caffeine.

Based purely on available scientific evidence, ma huang when combined with caffeine seems to cause weight lose. Results without caffeine are not clear.

Cautions and side effects


  • The FDA banned dietary supplements that contained ma huang, in the U.S in 2004.
  • The FDA discovered that these supplements pose a risk of injury and illness, chiefly cardiovascular complications as well as a death risk.
  • The ban is not applicable to Chinese herbal remedies or to products like herbal teas.
  • The FDA received nine hundred plus reports of probable ephedra toxicity. Some severe adverse events like sudden death, heart attack, as well as stroke were reported in thirty-seven cases.
  • Using ma huang might worsen various health conditions like kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sleep disorders.
  • Additionally its usage can result in heart damage, headache, nausea, anxiety, psychosis, tremors, kidney stones, increased urination, sleep problems, dry mouth, irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, restlessness, sleep problems, and stomach irritation.
  • Pregnant women or women who breastfeed as well as children should not take ma huang.

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