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Ephedra and Ephedrine Not Same Thing

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Old 05-28-2001, 08:04 PM   #1
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I just thought I would mention breifly that Ephedrine and Ephedra aren't the same thing. They are similiar but some products contain one and not the other.

Ephedra (also known as Ma Huang) is the whole plant alkaloid and is a very good source of energy. It is also helpful with allergy and sinus problems. Anyone who takes over the counter medications for allergy, sinus/colds, look over the label and see if you don't see Ephedra in the list of ingredients.

The difference in Ephedra and Ephedrine: to make Ephedrine; the plant alkaloids are separated and distilled and this is what make it a drug. Ephedra is left in its pure form and is considered a safe herb.

Most any of your supplements that you have mentioned in various forums on this site will have around 12 mg. of Ephedra per tablet/pill. You cold and allergy medications have 30 to 60 mg. of Ephedrine. 12 mg of Ephedra if distilled would equal 1 mg. of Ephedrine. You can see the difference in the potency there. You would have to take anywhere from 30 to 60 of your supplements to equal the amount of Ephedrine you get in 1 cold tablet.

You are going to find people who are on both side of the fence in this issue. Everywhere from nutritionists to your finest physicians. I live in South Carolina and we have a group of physicians who actually recommend "Ephedra" to their heart patients (bypass and diseased) in order to strengthen them. My own grandmother who is really a candidate for a pace maker to speed her heart up has been put on it to help keep her heart rate up at a normal yet elevated pace.

It will vary from person to person and physician to physician. Be sure to follow directions on labels and not to ignore the ingredients by any means but you may need to seek advice from a professional if you're at all in question.
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Old 05-28-2001, 09:53 PM   #2
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Default FDA's definition of Ephedra/ephedrine

I get the strong impression that the FDA regards ephedra and ephedrine in the same category. See:
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-ephed.html

While it is true that ephedrine is the distilled active ingredient of ma huang/ephedra (which, as you stated, is present in some cold medications) and is therefore more potent, first off the labs that manufacture OTC cold medications are carefully monitored by the government to ensure that the ingredients in the product jive with what is listed on the label - thanks to the 1994 Dietary Supplement Act, the companies that produce ephedra/ephedrine products as dietary supplements are NOT monitored by the FDA. There is one study in particular which found that the amount of active ingredients in various products can be way over the amount listed - or not present at all. Personally, that bothers me.

http://www.quackwatch.com/01Quackery...ics/herbs.html


Another point to make is that users of cold medications containing ephedrine will generally take them for very short periods (a week or less) at a time. Ephedra/ephedrine diet 'aids' will generally instruct on their label to use the product 12 weeks (I'd be willing to bet that many users just keep using it). And the amount per pill or capsule is different from the amount per recommended dose as many of the diet pills state to take 2 or 3 capsules twice or even three times daily. For example, Xenadrine (judging from the posts here on 3FC, one of the most popular products currently) lists a serving size as being '2 capsules' on its Nutrition Facts label, with MaHuang standardized for 20mg of ephedrine. The directions state to take 2 capsules twice daily - so that would be 40mg of ephedrine, every day for 12 weeks (at least). Compared with taking 30-60 mg of ephedrine for a few days to battle a cold, that's quite a difference! And note as I stated above - just because the label says there's 'x' amount of active ingredients in the product, doesn't mean there is - there could be just a trace amount or way more than the label states.

I'm not trying to start a debate here - just wanted to put in my 2 cents as usual!
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Old 05-29-2001, 01:26 PM   #3
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Default Ephedra/Ephedrine are NOT in cold medicine

Cold medicine contains PSEUDO Ephedrine, which is a synthetic, and somewhat safer ingredient if taken for short periods of time. Ma Huang is not a safe form of energy specifically because most people take it for a very long time, which causes many internal illnesses. The worst being that it causes heart palipitations and even heart attacks, because it is essentially speed. I urge people not to take pills to lose weight. the problem is that everyone is looking for an easy answer. Diet and exercise are the way to go, it's tough, but it's a **** of a lot safer than using drugs to get there...
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Old 05-29-2001, 02:16 PM   #4
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Default More ephedrine Issues

It needs to be cleared that I didn't say that Ma Huang was a safe form of energy but that it was a good source. That only means that it increases energy. "Safe" will vary from who you ask.

I do have some cold/allergy medication in my medicine cabinet that specifically says Ephedrine is in it. It is in bold type and is listed under warnings.

Cold tablets can also contain norpseudoephedrine, norephedrine, methylephedrine, or methylpseudoephedrine. Their are even a few more of them but they all have the same general effect just some are a little less potent than others.

The FDA does allow a 20% margin in consistency which means if you take a medications that says it has 100 mgs. of an active ingredient, you may be getting as little as 80 mg or as much as 120 mg.

As I said in my original post, this is for informative purposes only and I don't tell anyone to use or not to use but to ask. I will agree with a post I read earlier that I believe some opinions on supplements vary depending on what area in the US you live in. Some are more popular say maybe on the West Coast than on the East.

I can only tell you about the ingredients found in the supplement that I use. I have been highly informed and trained on the nutritional aspects of it. I can't agree or disagree with over all opinions because they will vary from product to product. I also do not advocate pills of any kind.
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Old 05-29-2001, 02:27 PM   #5
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Default is that perscription?

That's strange, is your cold medicine otc? Or perscription?
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