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
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.
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
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
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
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