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The Ephedra Alkaloid
MA HUANG MYSTERY...WHATS AN ALKALOID?

There are forty possible species of the ephedra plant. The two most common species are Ephedra sinica and E. nevadensis. The alkaloid is the part of the plant that contain the stimulant property, or desired effect for which ephedra is known. There are six different types of alkaloids present within the ephedra plant, however, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, are the two that are extracted to be used in dietary aids and nasal decongestants; ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is primarily used as a bronchodilator to alleviate respiratory symptoms that accompany pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis, and is contained within most sinus medications. Ephedrine exacts a similar response in humans as amphetamines, serving as a central nervous system stimulant to suppress the appetite, increase metabolism, and promote weight loss.

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