about Ephedrine and Ma Huang  

Much has been written and spoken about Ma Huang (Ephedrine) lately, and some concerns have been raised regarding its use as a dietary supplement. Unfortunately, as Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, a practicing medical doctor in Toronto, Canada, has noted, "much of the information being released on Ma Huang is misleading."

While TSN Labs, Inc. sees it as a positive sign that people are taking an interest in the safety of the supplements they use, we feel it is extremely important that these people have available to them accurate and credible information upon which to base their judgements. For this reason, the following information is provided with the intent of educating supplement users as to the background and current situation surrounding the use of one of nature's oldest medicines. Simply put --- Don't believe the hype..... Educate yourself!!!!

For more information on one of the Safest, Simplest and most Effective natural weight loss Ma Huang products available, check out Thin & Slim Naturally. Choose from the following categories, or scroll down through the page.

Ma Huang History The Current Situation
Medical Science vs. Political Hype Drugs vs. Nature
Thermogenesis Thin & Slim Naturally

Ma Huang History

Ma Huang is known as one of the world's oldest medicines. Ma Huang (also known as Ephedra herb) is a member of the family of herbs known as the Ephedraceae. It has been used in China for more than 5,000 years to treat symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections. Related varieties of the herb are also grown in India, Europe, Australia, and Afghanistan. American ephedra, native to the dry southwest, was used as a tea by the area's native people and introduced to early American settlers, who called it "Mormon Tea." It has also been used in the treatment of headaches, fevers, colds, and hay fever. Today, compounds derived from this herb are commonly found in many over-the-counter (OTC) cold and allergy medications. Ma Huang is also found in some weight loss and energy products. For dieters, it suppresses the appetite and stimulates metabolism through a process known as thermogenesis. Recently, Ma Huang has been the subject of scientific research for obesity because of this thermogenic fat-burning effect.

The Current Situation

Congress enacted the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA) to protect consumers and prevent the arbitrary regulation of herbal dietary supplements. DSHEA provides that herbal supplements may be restricted only when a product poses an imminent hazard to the public health when consumed at its labeled servings. Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several states are now considering violating DSHEA, by taking severe regulatory action that would remove ephedra herb dietary supplements from the market, or so restrict their content and labeling as to effectively preclude their use. These drastic actions purposefully ignore the wide body of scientific literature, several dozen clinical trials in humans, extensive animal studies, and recent reviews by expert toxicologists, all showing that ephedra herb products are safe when used as directed. Indeed, while the FDA is considering limiting these products to less than 10 mg per serving four times a day, the FDA's own drug regulations provide for safe use of ephedrine at 25 mg six times a day, and there are no indications of injuries from that dose. Medical science says ephedra herb products are safe and effective when used as directed in helping you lose weight and increase your energy level. But FDA politics may deprive you of your right to distribute, purchase and use safe ephedra herb dietary supplements. Let the FDA and your elected officials know that you value your rights and oppose arbitrary restrictions on the sale and purchase of ephedra herb products. You can write the FDA at:

Dr. David A. Kessler
Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Parklawn Building, Room 1471
5600 Fisher's Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
FAX: (301) 443-3100


Ma Huang...

Medical Science or Political Myth?

Medical Science Political Hype
Scientific Literature  
"A recent study found that in the most overweight individuals, the combination of ephedrine + caffeine(EC) was 29% more effective than dexfenfluramine. Another study found that when compared to losing weight by diet alone, EC had a positive influence on body composition, increasing fat loss by 100% and decreasing muscle loss by 72%." Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients - June 1996 During the Food Advisory Committee's recent hearings in Washington, D.C., the FDA attempted to discourage speakers and members of the committee from discussing the benefits of ephedra as an agent to aid in weight loss.
"None of the literature reports support the contention that ephedrine in reasonable dosage would represent a hazard to health... In the formal study, 100 subjects received...Ma Huang at an average dose of 5 tablets [23 mg/tablet] per day for 8 weeks. No side effects of any kind were reported, no changes in blood pressure were seen, rates of weight loss improved..." Safety of Ephedra Herb: A Preliminary Report. The FDA's allegations of risk are not supported by scientific or empirical data. The FDA has not cited a single article to support its conclusions, nor has it made any attempt to rebut the studies and over 200 articles from scientific literature supporting the safety of ephedra herb which have been submitted..
Scientifically Recognized Dosage  
"There have been more than 20 significant publications in prestigious scientific journals, describing the effects of ephedrine in doses of 60-150 mg per day for periods of up to 26 months... Ephedrine...did not cause increases in blood pressure or heart rate...There were no clinically important side effects in the reviewed studies..." Ad Hoc Committee On the Safety of Ma Huang - June 1995. FDA is considering a serving limitation of 2-10 mg without having any studies suggesting that larger servings are unsafe and contrary to its own OTC Regulations.
"25 mg up to six times per day." FDA's Over-The-Counter Drug Regulations.  
Safety Factor  
"The drug ephedrine...poses little risk when compared to common household products such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, sleep aids and caffeine." Ad Hoc Committee On the Safety of Ma Huang- September 1996. There are only about 36 reports available to the FDA in which it can even be determined what amount of ephedra was claimed to have been consumed by the reporting individual.
The Committee on Safety of Medicine in the United Kingdom recently acknowledged that it had only received 22 reports of adverse reactions associated with ephedrine drug weight loss products over a multi-year period. Recent Danish data on an ephedrine-caffeine combination for weight loss indicated only 86 reportable adverse reactions over a two-year period from 9.6 million reported 25 mg servings. Even the FDA concedes that most cases are complex, with patient factors that make interpretation of individual events problematic. Moreover, these reports come from a population of at least 8 million Americans who consume over 1 billion servings of ephedra herb products each year.
"A retrospective study of 230,000 subjects, who over a three-year period had used ephedra herb supplements at single servings of about 20 mg/3-5 times per day, for periods of six to eleven weeks, revealed no serious adverse effects, including no increases in blood pressure and no increases in heart rates." Ad Hoc Comm. on the Safety of Ma Huang- Sept. 1996 FDA has received only 602 unverified and unevaluated reports, many of which have been subsequently proven to be erroneous, unrelated or involve consumption at extreme levels.
Alleged Injuries  
"The scientific literature reviews, clinical testing, animal studies, known toxicology, absence of injuries in over-seas or other defined populations, and the safe use of ephedra herb products at 25 mg doses without adverse incidents all demonstrate that ephedra herb dietary supplements are unlikely to pose a risk of injury at labeled servings, a fact confirmed by thousands of years of use. Given this scientific background, any reported injuries should be scrutinized with great care, because such reports are at odds with all that is known about these products' safety."Ad Hoc Comm.on the Safety of Ma Huang -Sept. 1996. The FDA treats all alleged complaints as valid, regardless of whether an actual injury occurred. For instance:

-Several reports failed to state an injury

-Dozens of cases were included where the patient was taking multiple prescription drugs with known side effects and such side effects were erroneously attributed to ephedra

Internationally respected toxicologists reviewed the reports collected by the FDA and the Texas Dept. of Health. Their response was that "it is impossible to establish any causal relationship between ingestion of these products and any serious adverse effect...It is our opinion that at the labeled doses...there is virtually no basis, in these materials or the literature, to conclude [that these products] would cause any serious adverse effect in human beings." Ad Hoc Comm. on the Safety of Ma Huang -Sept '96 -Several reports came from unidentified "friends" who alleged bad experiences without any detail

-Several claims counted by the FDA concerned products containing no ephedrine. Even more alarming is that the FDA was advised of this fact in 1995 yet continued to include them.


Drugs vs. Nature

While the above table demonstrates the safety of the drug ephedrine, it should be noted that many scientists and herbalists argue that use of the herb in whole plant form (Ma Huang) is even safer than the refined derivative (pure ephedrine & psuedoephedrine). In fact, studies show that the whole herb Ma Huang has a very low toxicity and little potential for side effects (Tang & Eisenbrand, 1992), and animal studies have failed to demonstrate carcinogenic or mutagenic potential for ephedrine. Further, ephedrine is rapidly eliminated from the human body -- 88% of an oral dose is excreted in the urine within 24 hours, 97% after 48 hours (Hobbs, 1996). In Herbal Medicine for Everyone, British herbalist Michael McIntyre writes that while pure ephedrine may raise blood pressure, the "whole (ephedra) plant actually reduces blood pressure." German medical herbalist Rudolph Fritz Weiss, M.D., maintains that the whole plant "has certain advantages (over psuedoephedrine). Above all, it is better tolerated, causing fewer...symptoms." Finally, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) would regularly prescribe Ma Huang with other tonic herbs to improve safe consumption. This theory is maintained by TSN Labs, Inc. Our product, Thin & Slim Naturally, was formulated by Mr. Steve Lee, a native of Taiwan. He is a graduate of Duquesne University of Pharmacy in Pennsylvania, with a Masters Degree in Industrial Pharmaceutics. Steve Lee's professional experience in pharmaceutical chemistry has been extensive and diverse, including Laboratory Manager at the U.S. National Institute of Health. He has been instrumental in the formulation of a wide variety of health and nutritional products for as many as eight different companies. Mr. Lee has served on the FDA Advisory Committee for Herbal Medicines. Steve Lee brings to TSN Labs, Inc., a thorough understanding of pharmaceuticals and western medical practices, as well as a deep background in herbal medicines, whose safety and effectiveness have been proven in China and the rest of Asia for more than 5000 years. It is through this diverse knowledge of both the Oriental and Occidental worlds, that Mr. Lee has been able to formulate one of the safest and most effective natural dietary supplements on the market today. That product is Thin & Slim Naturally.

American Medical Association. Drug Evaluations. Chicago: American Medical Assoc. 1986.
Barnhart, E. (pub.) Physicians' Desk Reference. Oradell, NJ: Medical Economics Co., Inc. 1989.
Bensky, D. and A. Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine. Seattle: Eastland Press. 1986.
Chang, H.M. Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. Philadelphia: World Scientific. 1986.
German Commission E Monograph, Ephedra herba, published January 17, 1991.
Hsu, H.Y. (pub.). Oriental Materia Medica. Long Beach: Oriental Healing Arts Institute. 1989.
Huang, K.C. The Pharmacology of Chinese Herbs. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 1993.
Tang, W. & G. Eisenbrand. Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 1992.

The statements herein have not been evaluated by the FDA, and are intended for educational purposes only. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure , mitigate or prevent any disease. If you have a serious medical condition, consult with your doctor before using.

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