Ephedra (ma huang). Weight loss formulas.

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 21:54:39 -0800
Sender: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Paul Bergner <bergner.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: Formula One

> I thought I remembered seeing Formula One discussed on one of these lists. I tried doing a search but must have done something wrong.
> I have a friend who is starting to take this stuff, based on the weight loss of someone else I'm acquainted with. This "someone else" has become a little weird and hyper, and I'm worried about my friend.
> Does anybody have any experience with it? Is this the stuff that has a high content of ephedra (sp?) ie natural speed?

This formula contains ingredients like many "natural" weight loss formulas. Most contain a combination of ephedra (mahuang), willow bark (aspirin-like), Kola nut (contains caffeine), and bladderwrack (contains iodine). I believe the only people knowledgeable in natural medicine who will say anything good about these formulas are people trying to sell them. The combination of ephedrine, salicylates, caffeine, and iodine artificially drives the metabolism, much like amphetamines. Conventional medicine now recognizes that amphetamines, although they can sometimes lead to temporary and short-term weight loss, are valueless at best in an overall weight loss program, and dangerous at worse. It is my opinion that these so-called "natural" weight loss products are little better, although they are not as strong. Testimonials may abound for short term weight loss with these, but the longer you take them, the more they disrupt your normal metabolism, and there is invariably a price to pay down the line. Ephedra can be a dangerous herb when taken by certain people, it is contraindicated in pregnancy and high blood pressure. Potentially fatal reactions are possible, and I know of people who have had to go to the hospital because they were too wiped out to get out of bed after exhausting their metabolisms with long-term emhedra abuse. Note that many overweight people have high blood pressure, so the formulas are simply asking for trouble when sold on a wide scale. The question with long term use is whether, once you stop taking them, the body responds by lowering the metabolic "set point" resulting in further weight gain and even more difficulty losing weight.

Paul Bergner

From: Howie Brounstein <HOWIEB.DELPHI.COM>


I agree with Paul on the use of Mahuang for weight loss. In my experience, its value lies as an antihistamine for allergic reactions like mosquito bites, bee stings, certain kinds of hives, etc. Occasional use as a decongestant or bronchial dilator during a cold or allergy attack is also ok, even if it is just treating symptoms.

The treatment of weigt loss through stimulants is insane, along with using Ephedra as a speed. This dangerous practice has caused Ma Huang and Ephedrine containing products to be outlawed in a number of states.....I recently heard you have to be over eighteen in one state to buy Ephedra. (Wisconson?)

Ma Huang Tincture is my second best selling tincture (behind the infamous Echinacea root). It is slow selling most of the year...moderate during cold season, but flies off the shelves for a few weeks during the season of the pollen. It is unfortunate that our drug abusing culture coupled with the quick fix pill and some greed will hurt some niave folks and regulate this herb out of the hands of the American public. We might join the ranks of other nations like Australia, who have outlawed it completely.

Howie Brounstein
C & W Herbs, Inc.