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Ma Huang Today I entered Wal Mart in my search for an herbal compound on which to accomplish research As I directed myself towards the area where they keep their vitamins and other compounds I was telling myself that they probably would not stock too much in the way of herbal compounds Low and behold when I rounded the corner for the aisle where these compounds are I was shocked and taken aback at the variety of everything they have There were things in that aisle I had never heard of so being in a sort of rush I grabbed the first bottled herbal compound that stood out to me which was ma huang Ma huang also known as ephedra is the plant most commonly used as a source of ephedra products Ma huang is a popular dietary supplement in the United States and has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine Ephedra includes ephedrine alkaloids which are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plants Ephedra Education Council 2001 The plant is found on sandy seashores and in temperate climates of both hemispheres Ephedra acts as a mild stimulant with effects similar to those of caffeine Ephedra products can enhance energy and when used in conjunction with a healthy diet they can also lead to weight loss Ephedra has been used extensively for the treatment of asthma and also as a natural decongestant and antihistamine Brown 1995 It has become a very popular ingredient in herbal combinations for allergies and hay fever Since it is a stimulant which increases the metabolism and increases body temperature it has been used to control weight and to help prevent sleep Brown 1995 One of the side effects of increased metabolism is an increased pulse rate and a slight elevation in blood pressure Ephedra is not recommended for people with high blood pressure heart problems or thyroid problems Ma huang is not toxic if directions are
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