What You Should Know
Ma huang is the Chinese name for Ephedra. Ephedra is a stimulant that works in the body to increase weight loss by increased heart rate and metabolism. When ma huang was most popular, it was often combined with caffeine and aspirin to increase the overall effect. Aspirin thinned out the blood and caffeine extended the effect of ma huang in the body. Together, this trio proved to be one of the most effective natural weight loss supplements in the history of weight loss supplements. Ma huang unfortunately was linked to several deaths, which lead to the ingredient being banned in the United States and some other countries for herbal use. Some online vitamin shops continue to advertise ma huang based supplements for weight loss. Chances are these supplements contain a cousin to ma huang, synephrine and no Ephedra at all. In the United States, supplement orders are occasionally scanned for the presence of ma huang. If orders are found with the banned ingredient, legal action could be taken on the seller and buyer.
List of Ingredients
Ephedra is a unique supplemental ingredient that hit the weight loss market by storm. Once its effectiveness was noticed, every major supplement company offered a weight loss product with ma huang. With a little experimentation, combination supplements with white willow bark (herbal aspirin) and caffeine were developed and sold to the masses. The supplements worked and people lost weight, but the effect on the body was staggering.
Ma huang proved to be addictive, which lead to overuse. In addition, street drugs were formulated around the ingredient making it easier to create designer drugs sold on the street. There is no way of measuring how many lives were lost due to these experimental street drugs, but the direct effect of ma huang was noticed by the world when two professional athletes died prematurely while taking ma huang supplements.
Korey Stringer, a defensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings and Steve Bechler, a Baltimore Orioles pitcher, both died suddenly while taking ma huang products. The New England Journal of Medicine released a report in 2000 linking ma huang to death and serious side effects in teens and Metabolife collected more than 15,000 complaints ranging from sleeplessness to death from consumers taking their ma huang based supplements. Combining all this together, ma huang was banned for use in the United States.
- Increases metabolism.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Serious side effects including death.
- Major supplement companies spent millions of dollars lobbying against laws banning ma huang.
If there were ever a perfect weight loss ingredient, it was ma huang. Any supplement that included this ingredient was bound to increase weight loss, but the side effects were far worse than the benefits. After the FDA banned ma huang, synephrine surfaced as the next big ingredient. While less effective than ma huang, some of the same side effects are being reported with synephrine use.