Weight Loss Home > Ephedra Side Effects

Due to its potentially dangerous side effects, ephedra has been banned in the United States. Although ephedra is a "natural" product, it can still cause very serious reactions. Because ephedra contains stimulants, it can cause shakiness, insomnia, and headaches. Some of the supplement's dangerous side effects can include seizures, chest pain, or stroke symptoms.

Does Ephedra Cause Side Effects?

Ephedra (also known as ma huang) was a popular ingredient in weight loss products. However, it has been banned in the United States because it can cause very dangerous side effects. Even though ephedra is a "natural" product, it can still cause side effects. In fact, ephedra is 100 times more likely to cause side effects, compared to other herbal products.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with ephedra. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Ephedra

As a stimulant, ephedra can cause any of the typical stimulant side effects. These common ephedra side effects may include:

Serious Side Effects

There are a number of side effects with ephedra that you should report to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (known as heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain or any other signs of a heart attack
  • Blurred vision, one-sided weakness or paralysis, or any other signs of a stroke
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Bizarre behavior or thinking
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including an unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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