Ephedra refers to the plant Ephedra sinica a member of the family of herbs known as the Ephedracae. It is known in Chinese as ma huang, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for the treatment symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections.
Varieties of the herb are also grown in Europe, India, Australia and Afghanistan. American ephedra, native to the dry southwest, was used as tea by the early settlers, and was known as "Mormon tea" and "Squaw 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 cold and allergy medications.
Ephedra contains alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are the active constituents of the plant. Pseudoephedrine is used in over-the-counter decongestants. Ephedrine, the main constituent, is a bronchodilator and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
While ephedrine is used to treat low blood pressure and chronic asthma, it is more popularly used in diet pills. Ephedrine is a natural stimulant found in many diet pills offered today. According to the Clinical Toxicology Review, ephedrine mainly affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of the body. This means that it constricts blood vessels and enhances certain actions of the heart.
Ephedrine is usually mixed with other stimulants like caffeine and appetite suppressants. Ephedrine is also considered a performance-enhancing drug and is prohibited in most competitive sports.
Ephedrine enhances strength, endurance and energy
Firstly ephedrine increases the force of skeletal muscle contractions. The adrenaline rush provided allows the user to push harder through their training and can indirectly lead to further muscle and strength gains.
Secondly for athletes interested in muscle gain, ephedrine enhances the metabolic rate - the measure of fat, protein and carbohydrate conversion by the body. And an enhanced metabolic rate could clearly increase the speed of depositing new muscle mass.
Finally it is important to note that the powerful mental edge the drug can provide, typically making the user feel far more energetic and much better able to concentrate on the tasks at hand.