Ephedra has been the center of controversy and debate recently, because of its many adverse side effects, and at one time the FDA even banned the herb for a short time. The herb ephedra, also known as ma huang and often described as the miracle fat burner – contains natural alkaloids and has been used by the Chinese in herbal medicines for thousands of years. Over the years, it has been used to treat various ailments, but today it is best known as an aid to helping with weight loss.
Ephedra has other benefits that most people overlook, because of its amazing ability to help with weight loss. Consumption of ephedra can help to cure coughing and asthma by relaxing the air passage in the lungs. It can also relieve the effects of edema, a condition caused by excess fluid, by promoting increased urination.
There is no doubt of the herb’s usefulness and effectiveness as an aid in losing weight quickly and effectively. More than one expert considers ephedra to be the best method for losing weight. And most people take it sensibly and in moderation, with few side effects or adverse reactions. When used in the correct amounts and in moderation, ephedra helps the body to burn fat for energy. Ephedra is effective because it helps increase the breakdown of fatty tissues, suppresses the appetite, and maintains energy levels. It also produces more body heat, which in turn burns more calories – a process known as thermogenesis.
However, ephedra can have many side effects if it is not ingested sensibly and in the correct dosage. Side effects can include headaches, dizziness, increased blood pressure, chest pain, stroke, and seizures. Some experts have pointed out that many of these side effects result from other common substances – such as coffee – and are not unique to ephedra. One disadvantage of ephedra is that it is not suitable for everyone. It should not be taken by pregnant women or people suffering from such ailments as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. And people who are using various other prescription drugs on a regular basis should not take ephedra.
Perhaps the most serious side effect of ephedra is its tendency to overstimulate the central nervous system when ingested. This has the dual effect of increasing the heart rate and raising blood pressure, a potentially dangerous combination.
The controversy surrounding the so-called miracle fat burner is likely to be around for a while. If you are thinking of taking ephedra, always consult with your physician and make sure you have all the facts before making a decision. As with most supplements, you must have your ‘body foundation’ – the training and nutrition – set before you will be able to determine any added benefit. Choose wisely, and decide if ephedra works for you!