More than half the American population is obese, so it's no surprise weight loss supplements are popular. What is surprising is that these supplements are not tested for safety. They promise to fight fat, burn fat, and enhance metabolism, but some of the new ingredients may be dangerous. They have been known to cause things such as high blood pressure, stroke, and even death. The FDA has finally began to recognize these drugs, and in 2004 the FDA banned the sale of all products containing ephedrine.
Ephedra, also known as ma huang and by its scientific name, Ephedra sinica, is an herbal product that comes from an evergreen plant. The Chinese used these plants 5,000 years ago, possibly for the treatment of and hay fever. However, they used plant preparations unlike the modern ephedra supplements that are now banned.
Ephedra grows throughout the western United States in arid desert grasslands and sagebrush country. When the Mormons first came out west, the Indians taught them how to make a tea out of this plant's "twigs." It soon became known as Brigham tea or Mormon tea. Ephedra is classified as a Gymnosperm and is primitive in evolutionary terms much like horsetail.
After making an extract of ephedra, the alkaloid ephedrine was discovered by Chinese scientists in 1924. Two years later, Merck pharmaceuticals produced a synthetic version of ephedrine that is still used in asthma medications today. Scientists also revealed that ephedrine is both a cardiac stimulant and central nervous system stimulant. So, in keeping with allopathic methods, chemicals were used to synthesize ephedrine resulting in the discovery of an entire new class of drugs ... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2006, 04). Ephedra. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2006, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ephedra-86327.html
"Ephedra" StudyMode.com. 04 2006. 04 2006 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ephedra-86327.html>.
"Ephedra." StudyMode.com. 04, 2006. Accessed 04, 2006. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ephedra-86327.html.