Ephedra is an alkaloid chemical composite and plant name is Ephedra sinica. It is also known ma huang. It has been used in convectional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for the treatment of asthma and fever, as well as for the common cold. Native Americans and Mormon pioneers drank a tea brewed from an Ephedra, called Mormon Tea. Ephedra is broadly used by athletes.
Ephedra has also been used for weight loss, occassionally in combination with aspirin and caffeine. Few studies have shown that ephedra, when taken in a regulated and superintended environment, is effective for short-term weight loss, though it is unclear whether such weight loss is maintained.
Ephedra is used therapeutically as a diaphoretic to help evict exterior pathogens and regulate the proper functioning of the lungs Ephedra is both a stimulant and a thermogenic; its biological effects are due to its ephedrine and pseudoephedrine content.
These compounds exhilarate the brain, increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure ), and expand bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic attributes cause an increase in metabolism, evidenced by an increase in body heat.