The definition of ephedra is that of an herb with a variety of different uses throughout different societies. There is more than one form of the ephedra herb or plant, so it is important to understand the differences. When you hear that ephedra is banned in the United States this is only partially true as only one version of ephedra is illegal.
Types of ephedra plants
There are multiple different types of the ephedra herb with the most common used today are ephedra nevadensis, ephedra sinica, and ephedra viridis. Ephedra nevadensis is commonly referred to as American Ephedra or Mormon Tea. Ephedra sinica has the active ingredient of ephedrine (ephedra alkaloids) which is the banned substance in today's nutritional supplements.
Ephedrine is a controlled substance by the DEA (1) and sold for relief of allergies and asthma. Dietary supplements don't contain the active ingredient ephedrine since the ban took effect. Weight loss supplements and fat burners containing ephedra are formulated with ephedra nevadensis and ephedra viridis. Racer Ephedra is one of the only online stores offering a legal ephedra diet pill with ephedra sinica that doesn't contain the active ingredient of ephedrine.
Uses and benefits of ephedra
Ephedra has been used for centuries for a variety of issues and benefits. Common uses of ephedra include weight loss, sports performance, asthma, fever, headaches, and as a diuretic. It is important to consider each ephedra herb as it relates to the benefits or uses.
Ban on Ephedra
In 1997, the FDA started with restrictions on the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra. To ban a nutritional product the FDA must show that the product is unsafe for human consumption. In 2004, the initial ban on ephedra was implemented by the FDA and became official in 2006 after court rulings upheld the FDA's decision (2). The ban on the ephedra is on the specific ephedra products containing ephedra alkaloids with ephedrine being the most common. Ephedra supplements that don't contain ephedra alkaloids are legal.
Since the ban on ephedra, manufacturers have been searching for the best ephedra alkaloid alternatives that offer the same benefits and results. One of the most popular over the last few years was DMAA which is now also a banned substance by the FDA.
Ephedra and Weight Loss
There are multiple studies that demonstrate a relationship with fat loss and weight loss with the consumption of dietary supplements containing ephedra. One of the main ingredient combinations that have been shown to work (3) for weight loss is ephedra and caffeine. Also, long term studies of 6 month trials (4) have shown the positive effect of ephedra on weight loss.
Ephedra Leaves or Ephedra Extract
The legal ephedra products sold today contain ephedra leaves or ephedra extract. Both terms are the same thing and can be used interchangeably. The ephedra herb used in ephedra extract is often ephedra nevadensis or ephedra viridis. The key understanding of ephedra leaves is that they don't contain ephedra alkaloids.
There is now a major difference in the ephedra diet pills sold today. More than one type of stimulant is often added to increase the energy and weight loss potential. Acacia Rigidula and Senegalia Berlandieri are ephedra alkaloid alternatives that produces PEA alkaloids. The goal of the different alkaloids is to achieve similar results to ephedra alkaloids like ephedrine.
Racer Ephedra's goal is to offer the best information possible to allow consumers to make the best choices for their goals. Visitors to the site can check the Shop by Ingredient section with detailed information on the different ingredients. With no marketing hype that lets the consumer understand what each of the different ingredients in dietary supplements uses are.