We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ma Huang?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Feb 06, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Also known as Ephedra, ma huang is an herbal stimulant used for weight loss and in treating other conditions. The herbal remedy has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The supplement, however, has been banned in many areas for various health complications that can arise from taking it.

Scientifically known as Ephedra sinica, ma huang has been proven to be effective in managing hay fever, asthma, and its related symptoms in clinical trials. It may also help in combating the symptoms of hypotension. These effects stem from the supplement's alkaloid ingredients, pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which can stimulate the central nervous system. When administered to treat these conditions, ma huang is often flavored with honey.

Combined with caffeine, ma huang may help activate weight loss. These results have been proven during clinical trials in which the supplement was taken for a period of one to twelve months. When used as such, side effects may develop. These can include irritability, nervousness, and insomnia.

In China and other areas, many beverages are made with the herbal remedy. Some of these include Mormon tea and yellow river. Ma huang dietary supplements were prescribed by physicians in China for many years to treat everything from the common cold to coughs to headaches. When taken for these ailments, patients typically took the remedy in pill form or drank Ephedra tea.

American Mormons were introduced to Ephedra tea by Native Americans from Utah. The bitter tonic became a popular folk remedy and daily drink. Stems were also used as a tea and coffee substitute. At the same time, the herb was thought to be a cure for gonorrhea and syphilis, though its effectiveness against these conditions has not been proven.

Ma huang presents many safety risks that are considered significant. It can cause illness and injury, as well as death. Some potential side effects include cardiovascular problems such as stroke, hypertension or high blood pressure, arrhythmia, tachycardia, and heart attack. Because of these dangers, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed the herb unsafe for human use in the United States.

Herbalists who continue to use ma huang maintain that the stem of the herb is a safer alternative to the plant's alkaloid extracts. Rather than raising blood pressure, Ephedra stems have been shown to reduce it. Cardiovascular side effects, however, can still occur.

A cone-bearing shrub native to China, Ephedra can also be found in South America, the Mediterranean, and India. The herb can grow up to 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 centimeters) in height. Ma huang achieves optimal growth in rocky deserts, sandy areas, and mountains; it prefers warm climates with little rainfall.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt , Writer
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGEEK, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.

Discussion Comments

Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt

Writer

With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGEEK, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.