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Down with the Ephedra ban!!!

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Old 01-22-2004, 09:16 PM   #1
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Unhappy Down with the Ephedra ban!!!

The comment in the news section about feeling a certain relief about Ephedra being outlawed makes me FURIOUS!!! I am a clinical Herbalist and I feel that I am duty bound to stick up for Ephedra. Yes, using Ephedra as a diet aid can be dangerous, and it should not be used as such ( It was not intended to be, and was not used that way until fairly recently). That being said, Ephedra is one of the most important respiratory herbs that there is. It had been safely used for many years until it hit the mainstream as a diet aid. I had a friend that was having an asthma attack so severe that he was blacking out, and upon administration of a small amount of Ephedra he was breathing normally within ten minutes! I know that what is done is done, but there are larger implications at work here. Where will the goverment stop? At what point will enough be enough? Our rights are being comprimised!!! Just a little FYI- Roughly 800,000 Americans are either hospitilized or killed by side effects of prescription meds EVERY YEAR!!! Guess how many Americans die from the use of herbs and supplements every year? Usually not even one!
I am not usually big on "conspiracy theories", but this is just something to think about. Pharmcutical drug companies are among the most powerful forces at work in our country, as well as probably being the richest corperations in the world. Last time I checked, you cannot patent a plant, vitamin or mineral, so is it not in the pharmcutical company's best interest to discourage the average consumer from taking a empowered approach to their health? With all of the power/money that these companies have at their disposal, it will be easy for them to frighten people away from using natural means to achieve health. Despite the statistical proof that you are in much more danger with prescription meds!
Of course you can hurt yourself using an herb or supplement, if you try. And there are herb/supplement/prescription drug interactions. This is why it is a good idea to be working with an herbalist or holistic nutritionist the same way you would work with a doctor. I know that I am rambling here, but it is important to see that outlawing Ephedra is just the beginning unless we learn to stick up for our right to seek safe, affordable options for our health! It is not that I think that prescription meds are bad. I know that there are many people that are helped and even kept alive because of them. But I just want people to have the option to choose! I think that many holistic practitioners will agree that many of the people that we see come to us because conventional medicine has failed them. And they are healing themselves! If we continue down this path that the Ephedra ban has laid out, soon we will not have any choices. And that will just be sad.
P.S.--There ARE dangerous supplements. Just wait until the side effects from carb blockers are realized. Bad news.
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:36 PM   #2
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My friend just died who was using herbal remedies to treat breast cancer. Guess you guys aren't God after all. Thanks to everyone who worked to have Ephedra banned and I hope they continue. You people are doing real harm.
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:35 AM   #3
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The government or the FDA don't step in to ban anything - until enough people have died from it.

The pharmaceutical companies are not conspiring anything, IMO. What they do is called "capitalism and free trade." Works for me! Unless you have a clue about the billions of dollars the pharmas spend on research and development, versus vitamin and herbal producers, don't believe what some may lead you to believe without your own adequate reseach and crtical thinking. Just because you read it on the internet, doesn't mean it's true. There's much litter on the "information highway."

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 01-30-2004, 05:34 AM   #4
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And here's my 2 cents---Ephedra has been mass marketed. People have either died, or suffered from heart attacks and strokes because some manufacturers do not place any warning labels on their packages. Why?? Because there is no regulation on holistic and herbal remidies. So people think " hey--if one pill works, I wonder what 2 will do". This includes the manufacturers. Many people take diet suppliments for the "buzz" -- the energy. Too many people have been hurt by using Ephedra because they didn't know.

What's the solution? Maybe the FDA needs to regulate things a bit more. Does this mean the prescription solutions are better. Absolutely not. Can we say Phen-fen?? Ephedra was the answer for many who could no longer obtain Phen-fen after it was banned due to the exact same side effects.

Speed is Speed no matter what label you put on it. It's sad that something that is effective in treating medical ailments can no longer be available. The same thing happened to cannabus in the 1930's -- one of the best anti-nausea treatments and you practically have to sell your soul in this country to get the pills. And remember
L-tryptophan??

Of course--that's my opinion-------I could be wrong...

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Old 01-30-2004, 11:22 AM   #5
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Ephedra was abused by "capitalists" looking to make a buck off us overweight folks. It was abused. It is not bad or any more harmful than any other prescription drug.

Also, herbalists and naturopaths have had plenty of research and development done. Naturopathic medicine is older by far (this is a fact) than "traditional" medicine.

Do you really think that the people stocking shelves with garlic capsules and St. John's Wort and Ginko are naturopaths and herbalists? Nah. If people would GO to a naturopath or herbalist (just like they'd go to an MD for antibiotics or something) for help instead of popping the "newest" herbal remedy like candy with NO guidance, this would not have happened.

And, Quilter, could you please treat a sister of 3FC with respect and not call her "you people"? I'm sure HerbMama mourns your friend, and I don't think that she's trying to say that herbal remedies are a panacea for all ills. I mourn your friend, too, my dear.

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Old 01-30-2004, 12:53 PM   #6
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>>"It is not bad or any more harmful than any other prescription drug."<<

Or street drug - that's why it's a main ingedient for "crank," (methamphetimine.) Ever see what that natural concoction does to people?

Sorry to disagree, but I'll rely on good old MD's and Pharmacists. I like to think that humans have evolved beyond ancient medicine and remedies. If we haven't, then why are we living longer now than even 20 years ago? As for using anything beside your own brain to lose weight, who needs it anyway?

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Old 01-30-2004, 02:55 PM   #7
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To Diphthong: you said-

"As for using anything beside your own brain to lose weight, who needs it anyway?"

Obviously you haven't had the opportunity to be blessed (not) with an eating disorder. I for one am a compulsive overeater, and my brain cannot do the work alone. I'm as addicted to food as much as an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, and a smoker is addicted to nicotine. It is a very real addiction and nothing to belittle. I am very much offended by your comment that everyone can lose weight if they really tried. Not everyone is as blessed as you have been. Others like myself need more than just pure will power and are desperate for anything that will help us get some control on our eating. If you want to discuss this any further, let me know.

As far as the ban on ephedra, I'm curious to know if the ones who have died were talking the pills as directed on the label, or were they taking them in excess to lose as much weight as possible. Is there any research on this? I always use as many pill as suggested, and never had a health related problem due to taking weight loss aids in the past, or present.

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Old 01-30-2004, 02:56 PM   #8
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Hey, it's all good. I personally use a mix of traditional and herbal medicine for my own personal caretaking and I think it's a good thing. I mean, I won't take herbs to fix a broken leg.

And you're right about the meth thing, though my point was that lots of things are harmful if abused. I mean, we won't ban cough syrup just because it's also a major ingredient, will we? God, I hope not...

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Old 01-30-2004, 02:59 PM   #9
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The idea that "natural medicines" are somehow not a part of the big bad capitalist system just doesn't hold up. Just for one example, look at HerbaLife, a huge international multi-level marketing company, making millions on ephedra-laced products. This company has as bad a reputation as Enron, with many lawsuits, as you will see if you google it.

The "natural herbs" industry is a very big capitalist business indeed, one that just a few years ago bought itself enough Congresspeople to prevent the FDA from regulating these "herbs" as medicines in the first place, treating them as "supplements" instead-- so that they could be marketed and sold with a very low level of oversight.

That's what led to the injuries and deaths: corporate greed, corporate amorality, corporate arrogance. And a government that can be bought and sold.
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Old 01-30-2004, 03:01 PM   #10
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DoILookFat, I have to agree. Though I never think that dietary aids are a good idea, I do think that food addicts (myself included) need all the help we can get. By help, I mean groups, personal trainers, even surgery if the problem gets to a completely unmanageable level. Weight Watchers and having a personal trainer for a sister is helping me a lot, not to mention the fact that I'd never lose an ounce if it weren't for this forum!

SeekInnerThinChick, excellent point. You've obviously given this some thought.

HerbMama, am I right in thinking that you're advocating sort of a more grassroots approach to herbal medicine? By that I mean not taking herbs unless prescribed by an herbalist or naturopath? From what I've read in your post, it doesn't seem like you're in support of herbs (including, as Seek said, the tons of remedies being pulled off shelves and consumed unregulated) as a commodity as much as herbs being wisely and judiciously taken under the eye of a competent practitioner. What'cha think?

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Old 01-30-2004, 03:37 PM   #11
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I wonder what makes you *think* I'm not addicted to food, or anything else for that matter, or haven't had eating disorders? I don't know why you would take offense to my comment. Isn't the brain the controlling organ of our entire body? It was through my brain that I was able to understand and deal with my food addiction and eating disorder. I've taken Ephedra and every other thing that's come out since 1965. And I know what ephedra, even taken as directed does to the heart and blood pressure. And I know you develop an immunity to it so the more you use it, the more you have to take until you are taking way too much.

I take natural supplements as well as an Rx for nerve damage I suffered in a recent surgery. I am a critical thinker and examine all of my options before I make a choice, especially when it somes to my health. But I am not naive enough to blame any of my addicitons on capitalism or the government, or McDonald's. I've never seen anyone force my own hand, except - me. Same goes for directions on a bottle. I am responsible for my own choices. If the label says take 2, and I take 3 and die, it wasn't the government or a corporation that made me do it. Same with a prescription. Unfortunately, enough people who didn't think hard enough overused ephedra and paid the ultimate price.

Does anybody remember a few years ago when our favorite OTC cold remedies were recalled, during cold season yet, and replaced with products with different ingredients? What was the purpose of that? It was the big, bad bought and sold government punishing the big, bad capitalist corporations, ya think? Ever stop to think about the dollars lost by the corporations over that one? What was the ingredient that was causing the problem?

If you do a google search in the news section, perhaps you can pull up recent articles explaining the ephedra ban. It's been a long time coming, and IMO, not soon enough. It's not used only for controlling appetite, it's used for physical enhancement by athletes. Some dead ones, too.

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Old 01-30-2004, 04:09 PM   #12
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Diphthong-

I was not aware you have done very well managing, if not conqueriing your addiction to food. I apologize that I read your post wrong and misunderstood your position.

I have come in contact more than once with those who call me weak and not trying hard enough, or else I would have lost the weight, that my radar for such comments are on high alert. As of right now, I have not conquered my food addiction and I am very depressed because of it. Everyday I am extra aware of what I am eating and how much I am eating, that my obsession with losing weight has become my worst enemy. I hate having this disease and thinking about what to eat and not eat and on and on and on.....I'm a wreck. I hope and pray that one day I will find a way to get out of the **** I live in and be as lucky as you.

Again, I apologize for being out of line.

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Old 01-30-2004, 04:46 PM   #13
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Off the ephedra topic a bit...

I had read this thread just before leaving for my lunch break - during that time I had a thoughts running through my head regarding Heidi's initial response to Dip. I came back and saw that Dip had responded - I was going to add my two cents and say that I, too, would probably be labeled a 'compulsive overeater' along with (most likely) the majority of the posters/lurkers on the entire 3FC forum.

I wouldn't call Dip or any of the other successful losers (myself included) as 'lucky' in our attempts to conquer our urge to overeat. Anyone who tells you that losing weight (and more importantly, maintaining a weight loss) is easy or requires 'luck' is - well, they're pretty much lying to you. Saying NO to food - especially these days when we are all surrounded by massive quanitites of food and food advertising - and changing habits is TOUGH.

A book you might want to check out is one I just recommended on the Book Club forum - Rosemary Green's Diary of a Fat Housewife. It's *not* a 'diet book' - rather, it's an actual diary written by Ms. Green who was a slim beauty queen in high school, got married and went through the weight roller-coaster, reaching 310 pounds at one point. She was/is definitely a compulsive overeater - however she was able to eventually (took her 16 years, but she did it!) reach her goal weight of 135 pounds (if you look for the book - I'd recommend the paperback since the hardcover ends with Rosemary still at 209 pounds and there are some really good nuggets of info in the appendix in the paperback edition. For example, in the following snippet "Practice Environmental Control" Ms. Green writes:
Quote:
After 20 years I faced the fact that I simply can't control myself once the maple bar is in my hand. At that point, it is not my fault if I eat it. It is literally beyond my control. Like the alcoholic sitting at a bar with his favorite drink in front of him, once that stupid maple bar is in my hand, I am a goner. But...I did have control before I bought the greasy sucker. Or before I walked into the store. Or before I got out of my car. Or before I stepped into my car...that is where willpower must be applied! When the first wicked thought of excess calories enters the brain - that is the place to nip it!...

I started practicing self-defense by cleaning out my environment...I discarded any overly tempting, patently unhealthy foods: potato chips, candy, pastries, most crackers, ice cream, and nuts.

WAIT! I alread know what you're thinking: "But I can't throw away money like that, and besides, my children need treats." To which I reply "Phooey!" This will be the best-spent money you have ever known! If the tempting garbage food is in your home - you will eat it. It is that simple..."The Arm's Length Rule: If it is within arm's length...you will eat it." You are not a bad person to eat it, but you are a stupid person to have it in your home. Really now, who needs potato chips? Who is healthier for eating potato chips? Do you honestly want your sweet babies to put those grease-laden, unhealthy morsels into their beautiful little bodies? Do you actually want their precious little arteries becoming clogged with life-taking plaque? ..."We need to think of a French Fry...as a cigarette!"

To which I add this killer thought - think of what we do at Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter: "Here, my darling child, with your beautiful, healthy little body, here's a special chocolate treat. It's made from 50% grease and 50% sugar...I love you!" That doesn't sound like love to me! What chance do those children have at staying trim and healthy? Why do we do what we do when we know what we know? I mean, any decent parent would be appalled at the prospect of offering their child a cigarette or a drink of beer. Why? Because it is unhealthy for them! But it's somehow okay, perfectly acceptable, to offer them globs of fat. So, cleaning out your environment will benefit anyone who lives under your roof!

But beware! Do not throw those garbage foods into the garbage can...we both know they are too easily retrievable. Okay, here's one of my favorite lines - think it over carefully: Grind them or flush them...or you're going to wear them.
In Dr. Phil's 7 Keys book, he also focuses (along with the head issues) on Environmental Control as one of the 7 keys to weight loss. That also works for me - if I don't have the bad food at hand, then I won't eat it.

And as far as ephedra as a diet pill...if it worked as well as the ads and all are/were saying, then wouldn't there be a lot fewer fat people? I've said it many times and I'll say it again - "there is NO magic pill".
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Old 01-30-2004, 05:08 PM   #14
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Heidi, No apolgy necessary. If anything, I'm available to help you, as so many others here at 3FC. We are a community of support and understanding. And Lord knows, hon, I understand!

Like Mrs. Jim states - "there is no magic pill" or potion, juice, or even diet. There are people who have had 'the surgery" and still struggle with food addiction. I struggle with food addiction every single hour of the day. But it can be done. I highly recommend the two books Mrs. Jim just did. The answeres lie within them. Feel free to PM me if you want to know where to begin. The answer may surprise you.

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Old 01-30-2004, 05:26 PM   #15
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I donít have anything to add to the ephedra discussion but have to chime in on the food addictions.

Mrs. Jim makes a very good point ó why the heck would we all be posting here at 3FC if we didn't have issues with food? I mean, Iíve met a lot of lovely people here and have fun hanging out with them Ö but we all share the same problems: eating disorders ó compulsive overeating ó binging ó emotional eating ó stress eating etc. Look around these forums and youíll see the entire spectrum of eating behaviors that get and keep us fat. I think itís safe to say that I too had a major food addiction since I spent the first 46 years of my life in varying degrees of fat.

I have to agree with Dip that it all comes down to our brains in the end. Successfully conquering any addiction or behavior has to happen in your brain first. Mrs. Jim is fond of saying that itís all head stuff and sheís right. Even if food is a physical addiction for you, the strategies and weapons and skills that you need in your fight against the addiction happen in your head. And look around here at 3FC: the losers ó some big losers like Mrs. Jim and Dip ó are eloquent testimony that food addiction can be beaten.

One other thought to add to Mrs. Jimís comment about luck not having anything to do with losing weight: losing this weight and more important, keeping it off has probably been one of the hardest and at the same time, one of the most worthwhile things Iíve done in my life. Itís SO worth all the planning and thinking and preparing and sweating that we have to do to succeed.

Heidi, thereís only one person in the world who will make your weight loss dream come true ó you. Youíre in charge of your life and your weight. Donít let the past control you ó as of right this minute, you're in control of your life, through all the choices that you make every day. You can do this!
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