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What is Ephedra and How Does it Compare to Ephedrine?

By Derek Witcher January 08, 2020 0 comments

  • Ephedra is an herb derived from the plant Ephedra sinica which has been used for thousands of years in ancient medicine.
  • Ephedrine is the chemical alkaloid derived from the Ephedra sinica plant that was banned by the FDA in 2004.
  • Ephedra extract is legal so long as it doesn’t contain ephedrine, and is used to burn fat, suppress appetite and more.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may have come across the powerful weight loss supplement known as ephedra and the chemical alkaloid ephedrine. You may also know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of ephedrine products in 2004. Today, we’re covering the difference between ephedra and ephedrine plus info on which forms are legal and beneficial to your health and fitness goals.

ephedra shrub

What is Ephedra?

Ephedra is an herb derived from the plant Ephedra sinica (known as “ma huang” in traditional Chinese medicine) that has been used for more than 5,000 years in Eastern and Native American medicine. It is often combined with caffeine and other additives and is used in weight loss and sports performance. Many athletes use ephedra products to help them gain energy, burn fat and suppress appetite.

What is Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a chemical component (alkaloid) and medicine found within the Ephedra sinica plant and herb. The compound has been used during spinal surgery to prevent low blood pressure as well as to treat obesity, narcolepsy and asthma. In 2004, the FDA banned the ephedrine alkaloids found in the stem of the Ephedra sinica plant which were known to cause adverse side effects like fast heart rate, anxiety and dizziness.

Lipodrene Hardcore

Is Ephedra Legal?

To put it simply, ephedra extract is legal so long as it doesn’t contain any ephedrine.

If the FDA banned ephedrine in the U.S., how is it that there are so many ephedra-based products on the market? Actually, ephedra extracts derived from the Ephedra sinica plant are legal so long as they don’t contain the ephedrine alkaloid compound.

The ephedra extract we use in our weight loss supplements comes from the leaves of the ephedra plant and is legal in all 50 states. Look for products that have Thermo-ZÒ brand ephedra extract to see how the safe, legal form of this plant can help revolutionize the way you work out.

Ephedra and similar compounds discussed below are often added to the best pre-workout supplements on the market because they’re designed to energize and speed up muscle growth. What’s more, many ephedra weight loss formulas are made with additional vitamins, minerals and amino acids to help fuel the body before you put it through a particularly hard-hitting workout.

Ephedra-Free Stimerex-ES

What About Pseudo Ephedrine?

Since ephedrine was used as a weight loss aid, many companies have tried to develop copycat compounds that cause the same or similar chemical reactions without the ephedrine. And many of them do just that! For example, Hi-Tech’s Thermo-Rx® (found in Ephedra-Free Stimerex-ES and Ephedra-Free Lipodrene and more) is often called the ephedrine imposter because it contains a similar metabolic stimulation effect.

But rather than containing potentially dangerous and illegal ephedrine, it’s made up of a blend of potent phenylethylamine alkaloids derived from the Acacia rigidula tree. These alkaloids contain thermogenic properties and act as natural stimulants, which is important for increasing the body’s metabolic response so that it can actively burn fat and calories, resulting in weight loss.

Should You Try Ephedra?

As with any kind of supplement, whether or not you should try it depends on your health and your ultimate fitness goals. However, if you want to see if this supplement is worth the hype, make sure to try it in its safe, legal format, as an ephedra extract or through a similar compound like Thermo-RxÒ. There are many instances where the use of an ephedra extract could be beneficial, including in weight loss, as an appetite suppressant or to enjoy an energy boost during the day.


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