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  • Stimulates your body's metabolism
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Works equally well for men and women

Ma-Huang also known as Ephedra is a native-Chinese herb which is also found in India, the Mediterranean region, Persia and some other parts of South America and North America, particularly Utah. Ma-Huang is actually a cone-bearing shrub which has been used as a natural treatment for a wide variety of illnesses. Ma-Huang has been in use for more than five thousand years now. In ancient China the herb was used to treat anything from wheezing to coughs, fevers and colds.

In Chinese Ma means bitter or astringent and Huang actually means yellow. Ma-Huang is known to grow best in rocky deserts and mountainous areas. Optimum growth of the plant is possible in regions under arid to semiarid conditions. The herb is characterized by its wide variety of colors. The leaves are tiny and it also shows flexible stems. There are a lot of species of Ma-Huang. They are usually different in colors. They could be yellow, red, gray or green in color. The plants are characterized by distinct male or female plants which grow on separate plants. The herb gives out a pine-like odor.

Ma-Huang is known to work as a stimulant. The herb can be found in most of the Chinese folklore. One can find references in ancient texts where they were used by the guards of Genghis Khan in order to remain awake during duty.

This herb is used extensively as part of traditional Chinese medicine. The stems of the herb are dried in the sun and then are grounded up and cut into manageable pieces which are then used in teas. Such teas can also be found in the American Southwest. These teas are known by different names like desert tea, Mormon tea, squaw tea and Brigham tea. Ma-Huang based teas are known to be good in fighting such diseases as nasal congestion, joint pains, coughs, wheezing, headaches, chills and fevers.

The basic chemical characteristics of the plant have been revealed now more clearly due to scientific research on the herb. They mainly consist of a dominant alkaloid known as ephedrine. The percentage of ephedrine is known to vary from species to species. The other factors that could affect the content of ephedrine include the weather conditions and the time of harvest.

Ephedrine is a known stimulant exciting the nervous system. It is also known to cause other kinds of effects like decrease of intestinal tone, elevation of blood pressure and peripheral vasoconstriction. It can be injected or used orally.

Ephedra is also used as a bronchial dilator which dries up sinuses. Ma-Huang is also used in treating asthma and allergies for this very same reason. Dilation using Ma-Huang is also known to be effective in the process of decongesting the chest area from flu and cold. They are known to stimulate the entire nervous system which results in reducing fatigue, enhance moods and make a person alert. Ephedra has been also used for its ability to increase endurance and energy. This happens because there is an increase of blood flow to particular muscles. This in turn results in an increased supply of oxygen and other essential nutrients to the muscles. The body is known to burn calories much faster with Ma-Huang and this is another reason why it is very popular in fighting obesity.

Recently we have seen the revival in the usage of Ma huang. The increased awareness is due to recent publicity about the herb on the internet. It's also popular because of its ability to fight one major disease or problem of the modern times, obesity. An increasing number of people fighting with obesity turn to it and get successful results. Ma-Huang is part of many diet pills that can be found flooding the markets. The pills which are usually taken around half an hour prior to meal time leads to reduction of food intake apart from increasing the metabolism during and after the meal. Scientific research shows that they gel well with the basic metabolism which takes place during the digestion process. This is actually the reason fro the increase in metabolism both during and after a meal.

Ma-Huang is known to cause what is popularly known as 'thermogenic effect'. Thermogenic effect is the process of burning of fat which is caused mainly through dietary intake. Thermogenic effect also works on the sympathetic nervous system and apart from affecting other human body metabolism.

For a brief period the use of ephedrine was actually banned by the FDA in the United States in 2004. Following detailed research on Ma-Huang, the ban was actually overruled in 2005, with a provision in place that limited the dosage to less than 10 mg. As in the case with any other drug or pharmaceutical product it is always preferable to use Ma-Huang only after consultation with a qualified physician.

An entire range of products can be formed using Ma-Huang and it is for this very reason one can find literally hundreds of products available in the market. They have been part of the over-the-counter products since the early 1900's. One reason for their initial popularity was their ability to increase sexual sensation. There are several combination products which are available like the combination of green green tea extract along with Ma-Huang, which are very popular nowadays.