Ephedra, also known as Ma Huang, is banned in the United States, effective since April 2004. Although Ephedra was a popular weight loss supplement, there were many reports of serious adverse reactions. The Ephedra ban has been challenged however, the side effects are too weighty to ignore. Ephedra can cause dizziness, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, personality change, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, headache, thirst, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, flushing, heart palpitations, hyperthermia, increased blood pressure, and dependence. Even more serious, the use of Ephedra has been linked to hypertension, myocardial infarction (MI), cardiomyopathy, chest tightness, cardia arrest, cardia arrhythimias, cerebreal hemorrhage, loss of consciousness, seizure, stroke, psychosis, and other serious conditions. In some cases, the adverse effects werer severe or life-threatening. According to one study, Ephedra accounts for only 1% of herbal product sales but 64% of the adverse reaction reports to poison control centers. It is one hundred times more likely than any other herb to provoke adverse reactions.
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