Ma Huang (Ephedra)


This is an herb that stimulates the central nervous system. Claims for weight loss, increased energy, boosting performance and body building have been made.

Research Results:

A controlled study on weight loss showed that a group using ma huang combined with a low calorie diet had no greater weight loss than a control group using a placebo while following the same low calorie diet.


Because it is a stimulant, it increases blood pressure and heart rate. It can be hazardous to individuals with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid conditions. When combined with caffeine-containing herbs (e.g., kola nut and guarana), it can be especially hazardous to these individuals. Side effects include insomnia, dizziness and tremor. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of more than 800 adverse reactions to ephedra, including stroke, heart attack and death. As a result, The FDA has proposed that products containing ephedra include warnings that 1) users should limit daily intake to 24 milligrams ephedra and 2) users should not take the product for longer than 7 days.

Return to Supplement Guide

Take Our Survey


We need your help! Periodically we conduct a survey of our visitors and use the results to help guide our planning process for future programming. We really want to know what you think, and your answers will help us improve the Shape Up America! organization. Please take a few minutes to share your questions, thoughts and ideas. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential.

Btn Click Here

Donate to SUA


Please consider a donation to Shape Up America! Your tax-deductible contribution helps us develop new initiatives to address the problem of obesity in America.

Btn Click Here