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Ma Huang (Ephedrae Herba): Setting the Record Straight

Ma Huang (Ephedrae Herba): Setting the Record Straight

Chinese herbal formulas that contain Ma Huang (Ephedrae Herba, ephedra) have been used safely for two millennia, primarily as anti-asthmatics. They remain in widespread use today in China, Japan and Taiwan, without reported adverse effects. The use of a non-traditional combination of ephedra and caffeine in weight loss products by a susceptible demographic led to the observation of a possible association with cardiovascular toxicity and hepatotoxicity, leading to ephedra’s ban in the United States in 2004. This paper reviews the scientific information available about ephedra and proposes mechanisms for the observed adverse effects when it is combined with caffeine. The author also proposes adding obesity and Metabolic Syndrome to the list of cautions and possibly contraindications to the use of Ma Huang.

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SKU: JCM110-18

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AuthorBahia Al-Salihi

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