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Ephedra (Ma Huang) has been effective in treating bronchial, nasal, and weight conditions since the 1920s, but over the years, a number of deaths have been attributed to its use. In 1997, the FDA introduced restrictions on the sale of products containing more than 8 mg of ephedra per dose, limiting daily intake to no more than 25 mg.
The risk comes from ephedra's (also ephedrine's) effects of increasing blood pressure, causing heart palpitations, nervousness, dizziness, insomnia and headache. People who have high blood pressure, prostate problems, glaucoma heart problems, diabetes, thyroid disease, or are taking medication for asthma should NOT use ephedra.