Is Ma Huang Safe?The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that ma huang is not safe for use. This product may cause many serious problems, such as
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Heart attacks
In addition to the usual risks, using ma huang may be of particular concern during pregnancy or breastfeeding (see Ephedra and Pregnancy and Ephedra and Breastfeeding). While the risks of taking ma huang outweigh the potential benefits for all people, this is especially true for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
(Click Is Ma Huang Safe? for more information, including any available warnings and precautions.)
What If I Take an Overdose?An overdose of ma huang may cause life-threatening problems. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you have taken too much.
(Click Ephedra Overdose for more information.)
How Does Ma Huang Work?The active ingredient of ma huang is a chemical known as ephedrine (as well as several other similar chemicals). These ingredients are chemically similar to amphetamines and act as powerful stimulants. While these chemicals may suppress the appetite or increase metabolism -- both of which can help with weight loss -- they are also responsible for the potentially dangerous side effects.
Is It Effective?There is some scientific evidence to suggest that ma huang may be effective for short-term weight loss. Unfortunately, while it may be effective, the substance is also potentially dangerous.
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