So you're wondering about ephedra and what it can do for you…
You've come to the right place.
But you're not sure where to find Ephedra or if it's even legal in your country.
Or you may not even know if it's safe for you to take…
That's what this guide is for.
Ephedra is backed by research and countless studies.
Simply put, it increases thermogenesis by using fatty acids for energy and it stacks easily with many stimulants like DMAA and caffeine etc.
Ephedra contains many alkaloids even without ephedrine and it works well when used with acacia rigidula and DMAA.
In a 2 year span, over 3 billion ephedrine doses were taken safely without side effects before ephedrine was banned.
So whether you want the best alternative ECA stack or something for beginners, you'll find what you're looking for.
Best Ephedra Supplements in 2021
Although PhysiqueSeries Fat Burner doesn't contain Ephedra, it has similarly structured compounds that mimics ephedrine.
The combination of Synephrine, White Willow and caffeine is similar to what ECA offers.
It won't only increase pain tolerance but it will also increase thermogenesis.
So you don't need any ephedra if you have these stimulants together in one formula.
Try it out and you'll like it's thermogenic effects as it can replicate ECA with natural ingredients.
Use coupon code FITFREK
This is Hi-Tech's flagship fat burner.
It combines ephedra and a whole bunch of stims into one yellow tablet.
If you're considered to be stim-lover and plenty of experience with fat burners and pre workouts, then you'll enjoy Lipodrene.
Each bottle contains 100 tablets so there's no way you can finish all of it in one month, nor should you try.
Most hardcore fat burners and pre workouts contain a few stimulants, but this contains the hardest of the harsh.
Ephedra along with other stimulants make this fat burner the best of all worlds of energy and focus.
If you're cutting, you're going to appreciate everything Lipodrene offers.
Appetite suppression, mood support, energy, everything is covered here.
And if you wanted to get truly hardcore, you could go for the Lipodrene Hardcore but that is the last kind of stuff you should go for as it is the strongest of the strong.
There’s a reason this is called Black Mamba Hyper Rush and that’s because this formula contains an explosive formula that includes 65 mg Ephedra and coupled with 200 mg Caffeine – talk about energy and thermogenesis!
Black Mamba also includes PEA so you can expect good mood elevation.
This looks to be an effective thermogenic that captures the energy and thermogenic effect of the legendary ECA Stack.
This is a ultra strong pre workout with a bunch of stimulants.
Kracked is packed, literally, with 150mg ephedra, 100mg DMAA and even eria jarensis along with DMHA.
It's name lives up to it's formula.
The best part is that it's a fully open label with everything disclosed.
Citrulline malate, beta alanine, and nitric oxide boosters, this pre workout has got it all.
DMAA is known to have side effects when dosing above 70mg, so the 100mg DMAA may elevate blood pressure.
Kracked is a stim-junkie type of pre workout that shouldn't be had at full servings.
I recommend starting with the smallest scoop possible, even less than half a serving.
In fact, to avoid elevated blood pressure and heart rate, DMAA should be dosed way less than 100mg!
Be 100% careful and start with half a scoop.
Do not take a full serving and this is only for users who know what they are doing.
Use this 15% off coupon code FITFREK
ECA Xtreme is a popular fat burner but it is using a prop blend.
Lots of people are praising this to be a strong fat burner so it must have sufficient dosages.
While it’s a shame that we don’t know the dosages for the ingredients like ephedra, we do know it has 200mg caffeine so at least we know it’s nothing crazy!
It also has PEA, Acacia Rigidula, green tea and a few other stimulants that are usually found in the top thermogenics.
Back in the 90’s, Ultimate Orange was the hardcore pre workout to take.
It is back today but it doesn’t contain the currently banned stimulant, ephedrine.
The formula is still quite similar as it uses 150mg DMAA and 25mg ephedra instead of ephedrine and everything else is still present.
Hi-Tech has done well with bringing back Ultimate Orange as one of the strongest pre workouts to take.
While it doesn’t contain a long list of stimulants, it has all your vitamins, minerals, and even protein and carbs.
So whether you’re looking for something with DMHA or just want to cover your foundation for pre-nutrition, Ultimate Orange has got your back.
Hell Fire contains the most ephedra out of all the fat burners we've seen to date.
With 150mg ephedra, 150mg caffeine and 140mg StimMax blend and 95mg ThermoCore, you'll literally be burning for hours even if you've used this before.
At max dosage, you'll be getting 300mg of ephedra throughout the day but you'll want to work your way up but you should never exceed 2 pills in a 24 hour period.
If you really want to test out Thermo-Z and ephedra at it's maximum dosage, Hell Fire would be the perfect pick for you.
Use coupon code FITFREK5
We're willing to bet that you've never seen a pre workout like this.
To be honest, we haven't either.
Death Punch Extreme has ephedra, and it has DMAA long with 400mg caffeine.
But this is where things get interesting.
It has a SARM called Cardinine.
It isn't the most potent SARM for muscle building, but it's great for fat burning.
With a dose as low as 10mg it can have some great thermogenic effects.
But the dose is unknown as there's a bunch of ingredients in a proprietary blend.
We do know one thing, if you like caffeine, DMAA and ephedra, then you'll like Death Punch Extreme.
The SARM here is just extra if it does anything at all.
You're looking at a fat burner that contains not only ephedra, but DMAA and a moderate 150mg dose of caffeine (but still hardcore!).
The PEA content will help provide a mood uplift as it can increase dopamine production, and give you that quick rush of energy to blast through your workout.
You'll get more of a burning effect as Hi-Tech Pharma has proven in a study, that this PEA blend increases energy expenditure far more than ephedrine itself.
If you prefer PEAs over caffeine then you will like Stimerex ES over Lipodrene Hardcore.
Ephedra: The Hardcore Side of Stimulants
We don't only discuss everything there is about ephedra, but we take it further and categorize supplements by strength.
So whether you want the strong stuff or something for beginners, you'll find what you're looking for.
As long as there are no ephedrine alkaloids present in the formula, then it is completely legal.
So ephedrine was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in the early 2000’s, giving rise to a huge black market demand for what was touted as the ultimate way to get super ripped.
Recently it appears to have made a legal comeback, yet confusion still surrounds its availability and legality.
We’ll find out exactly what ephedra is, what it really does, we’ll uncover precisely what its legal standing is and whether any substitute is really going to give you the results you’re looking for.
What Is Ephedra?
For thousands of years the herb Ma Huang has been used by physicians in the Far East to treat a variety of illnesses and health conditions, including circulatory problems, hayfever, bronchitis and hypotension.
Chinese herbalists have been using it to promote fat loss, enhance vitality and endurance.
Western medicine refers to Ma Huang as the Epehdra Sinica plant, or simply as Ephedra. (1)
Ma Huang is prepared from a desert dwelling shrub in the Ephedra genus.
There are more than 50 species of Ephedra around the world.
The three Asian versions of Ephedra that are used medicinally in Asia are:
- Epherda sinica
- Ephedra intermedia
- Ephedrine aquisetinia
The active component in Ephedra is Ephedrine.
Ephederine was isolated by researchers in Japan in 1887.
50 years later it was chemically synthesized.
In the early 1930’s Ephedrine was approved for use by the American Medial Association as a sympathomimetic drug with relatively low toxicity.
Ephedra or Ephedrine?
It is important to note that Ephedra has not been banned.
You will recall that ephedra refers to the Ma Huang herb.
What has been banned in the United States are the active alkaloid compounds found within the Ephedra plant, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, methylephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, and methylpseudoephedrine.
The following excerpt from the actual 2004 FDA ruling makes this clear . . .
“We use the term dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids in this final rule to refer to dietary supplements containing botanical sources of ephedrine alkaloids. We use the term ‘ephedra’ to refer to botanical sources of ephedrine alkaloids.. (FDA Final Ruling on Ephedrine alkaloids. (2) )”
It is, therefore, possible to legally obtain a supplement that contains Ephedra, but it will have necessarily removed the illegal alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
So, what do you leave remaining in the Ephedra herb when you take out those alkaloids?
Ephedra is a complex herb made up of many compounds.
Even though the alkaloids that have been banned have been shown to be the most important contributors to the fat loss results that have been achieved in the past, they were not the only contributors.
In fact, they only make up about 2% of what is inside of this plant!
Here are the most important compounds contained in alkaloid free Ephedra . . .
This is an antioxidant that naturally inhibits myostatin.
Myostatin is a hormone that your body releases to stop muscle growth.
Epicatechin is found in dark chocolate and is the reason that it is popularly recommended for health.
Epicatechin is known as a flavanol and it has a ton of benefits.
Flavanols have the ability to enhance our natural body functions.
Of all the flavanols, Epicatechin appears to stand supreme.
Studies have shown that it has the ability to . . .
- Boost blood flow
- Enhance nitric oxide levels
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Suppress the appetite
- Bring down LDL cholesterol levels
- Stabilize blood pressure
- Inhibit myostatin
Getting epicatechin through supplemental, as opposed to whole food sources, is smart idea for those trying to lose weight.
A typical daily dose of 45 grams of dark chocolate will provide you with an extra two hundred calories to your daily caloric consumption. (3)
Polyphenols are a compound with antioxidant properties.
They can reduce inflammation and provide great benefits for overall health.
There are over 8000 polyphenols and more than 4000 are flavonoids.
A catechin is a type of natural phenol antioxidant.
Catechins are a potent antioxidant and can improve mental health.
They are commonly found in green and black teas, cocoa (dark chocolate) and berries.
They are abundant in the ephedra plant.
Catechins are abundant in green tea, and are what have led to their popularity as a health booster.
Catechins have been shown to have fat oxidizing properties.
To have a beneficial weight loss effect, however, catechins need to be taken in sizable quantities.
The typical dosage of Ephedrine is 25 grams, which is too low to produce appreciable weight loss effects from catechins.
Flavanoid Glycosides are a group of compounds that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables.
They are usually bound to sugars.
They have been shown to be beneficial in improving the strength of capillaries, stabilizing blood sugar and boosting the overall efficiency of the immune system.
Citric and Malic Acid
Citric and malic acid work together to provide an energy boost and off-setting the effects of fatigue.
Malic acid is also a well recognized pain reliever.
Citric and malic acid are involved on the krebs cycle.
As such they are involved in the metabolism of everything that we consume.
Citric acid is also a popular skin rejuvenating product.
A compromising of the krebs cycle will result in less efficient metabolization and energy production within the body.
The supply of citric and malic acid via ephedra will help to ensure that the system runs efficiently.
Glycans are macro molecules that assist the cells in the body to communicate with one another.
They are especially beneficial to the skin, as they facilitate the communication process which leads to collagen replenishment.
In terms of weight loss, the glycans found in Ephedra (known as ephedrans) have been shown in studies with mice to contribute to the normalization of blood sugar.
However, no studies have yet been done on human subjects.
Tannins are most commonly used in the production of wine, being the compounds that bind to amino acids and produce that dry taste in white wine.
When it comes to ephedra there are two tannins of particular importance . . .
- Galic acid
- Epigallic acid
In a study conducted in 2015, galic acid was given to mice who were fed on an increased food consumption.
Despite the extra calories, the mice did not gain weight, in contrast to a control group.
The galic acid fed mice also significantly improved their glucose and insulin homeostasis.
These are crucial factors for weight control. (5)
The Structure of Ephedrine
Ephedrine is a benzyl alkaloid, which basically means that it is a nitrogen containing molecule.
It contains component parts that work in the same way as synthetic stimulants, such as epinephrine and methamphetamine.
The variety that produces best results in this regard is Ephedra Sinica.
Ephedra Sinica contains 1-3% alkaloids, of which between 40-90% is ephedrine.
The key alkaloids in Ephedra are . . .
- N-methyl Psuedoephedrine
The properties of alkaloids are largely determined by the precise positioning of their nitrogen atom and the length and constituency of their alkyl side chains.
How Does It Work
The properties of alkaloids are largely determined by the precise positioning of their nitrogen atom and the length and constituency of their alkyl side chains.
Ephedrine stimulates alpha and beta adrenergic receptors, which leads to an increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and a resulting increase in blood circulation.
It also has a major stimulatory effect on the central nervous system. In addition, ephedra will relax and dilate your respiratory pathways.
It can also control the activity of the hypothalamus and speed up thermogenesis.
It will also improve concentration for working, studying of taking exams.
All of these effects make Ephedra a natural fat loss stimulant.
It has been shown, over and over again, to really work in terms of boosting fat loss.
A number of controlled studies have looked into the effect of ephedra and ephedrine in terms of fat loss.
Often it has been combined with caffeine and / or aspirin in order to have a more potent effect.
A recent study found that people who took and ephedra-caffeine supplement lost a average of one kilogram (2.2 pounds) per month over 6 months more weight than a group who were taking a placebo.
The dosage taken was 90mg of ephedra and 192mg of caffeine daily.
There were no adverse effects at this dosage.
An older study compared four groups of obese people.
One group took just caffeine at a daily dose of 200mg three times per day.
The second group took 20mg of Ephedra three times per day.
A third group took caffeine and ephedra together at a dosage of 200 and 20mg, three times per day.
The fourth group took a placebo.
The group that took both caffeine and ephedrine lost the most weight over a period of six months.
However, all four groups lost a similar amount of weight due to being on a calorie controlled diet.
In fact, the placebo group lost more weight than the ephedra group alone. (6)
It is important to note that the caffeine-ephedra group reported such side effects as vertigo, and increased heart rate.
The combination of ephedra and caffeine works by increasing the metabolic rate and also by suppressing the appetite.
The combination of ephedra and caffeine also appears to increase muscle mass, so that weight loss is predominantly fat as opposed to muscle tissue. (7)
A supplement which used to be popular – it has since been removed from the market – was Xenedrine.
It was a combination of Ephedrine and Caffeine.
A study was done on this supplement.
Participants in the study were given a total of 40mg of Ephedrine and 200mg of caffeine.
The supplement group lost more fat and retained more muscle than the placebo group, with both groups following the same diet and exercise program.
What is the Legal Standing of Ephedra?
In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the Dietary Supplement and Health Act.
It stipulated that dietary supplements are exempt from the same rigorous regulations of prescription or non-prescription drugs.
In order to impose restrictions on a supplement, the FDA must show ‘significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury’ under the conditions of use outlined on the product label.
In other words, the risks need to outweigh the benefits for the FDA to take action against a supplement.
In 1997, the FDA put forward a proposal to regulate the use of Ephedra.
The proposal was to limit the dosage to 8 mg with a maximum daily dosage of 24mg.
The proposal was withdrawn in 2000, due to a lack of clarity concerning the FDA’s right to impose dosage limits.
In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed that the perceived risks associated with ephedra as a dietary supplements outweighed the potential benefits.
They, therefore, banned ephedrine, norephedrine, methylephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, and methylpseudoephedrine containing supplements.
However, many over the counter medications that contained ephedrine and psuedoephedrine escaped the ban.
The ban was overruled in 2005, but was subsequently upheld.
The current stand of the FDA is that the consumer should not take Ephedra or Ephedrine in any dose whatsoever as a supplement.
It has also been banned by many athletic governing bodies.
The FDA ruling was based upon the 2003 RAND report.
This was a thorough review of 52 clinical trials of ephedrine for weight loss or athletic performance.
The RAND report concluded that ephedrine based supplements had a small but significant short term benefit in terms of promoting weight loss.
However, it also determined that, based on over 16000 case studies which were examined, there were 22 ‘sentinel’ events associated with use of the supplement.
These included two deaths, 3 myocardial infractions, 9 cerebrovascular accidents, 3 seizures, and 5 psychiatric cases.
In 2005, the U.S. District Court for the State of Utah ruled that the 2004 ban on ephedra was based on insufficient evidence that the herb was unsafe if taken at low dosages.
However, a year later, the ban was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
However, it is strictly monitored, with each state having its own regulations.
There are, though, some Federal requirements which apply to all states.
These include the following . . .
- Daily sales are not to exceed 3.6 g, regardless of the number of transactions
- Monthly sales are not to exceed 9 g of pseudoephedrine, regardless of the number of transactions (7.5 g if by mail order)
Ma Huang can be sold legally as a pure herb or as a tea in the United States.
Is It Legal In Other Countries?
In Canada there are no specific regulations regarding the sale, possession or distribution of Ephedra.
However, pseudoephedrine, the precursor of methamphetamine, is stringently controlled.
In Germany, it can only be obtained with a prescription from a pharmacy.
In Sweden there are no restrictions on the use of ephedra.
In the United Kingdom it is legal to buy ephedrine supplements online.
However, actually selling them within the UK is illegal.
In Australia, ephedra supplements are schedule 4 substances under the 2015 Poisons Standard.
As such, it is a prescription only medication.
In South Africa ephedrine cannot be sold as an over-the-counter weight loss supplement.
However, dosages of 8 mg per pill or less are available over-the-counter for the treatment of sinus, head colds and flu.
How Will Ephedrine Affect Me?
If you were to take it as a dietary supplement, Ephedrine would produce the following effects on you . . .
- Your metabolic rate will increase, as evidenced by an increased perspiration rate
- You will have more energy and you will fatigue less readily
- You will lose your appetite
- Your level of focus and concentration will improve
- Your central nervous system will speed up, which will cause a slight increase in strength
At the same time, you are likely to experience the following side effects . . .
- You will have interrupted sleep cycles
- You may experience a post stimulant crash, coupled with anxiety
- You will lose your appetite
- You may experience a post stimulant crash, coupled with anxiety
- You may have trouble maintaining an erection
All of these side effects are exacerbated if ephedrine is combined with caffeine.
What is the ECA Stack?
Before it was banned in the United States, it became very popular to take ephedrine as a triple stack along with caffeine and aspirin.
This was known as the ECA stack.
The combination of these stimulants enhanced the desirable effects of ephedrine.
Caffeine, the worlds most popular stimulant, has a lipolysis promoting effect on the body.
It can also help to offset fat storage.
Aspirin has the effect of prolonging the beneficial fat loss effects of the alkaloids in epinephrine, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine.
The side effects of combining these three products are greater than simply taking ephedrine by itself.
The typical dosage for the ECA stack is to take the following four times per day . . .
- Ephedrine 20mg
- Caffeine 200mg
- Aspirin 81mg
What About Ephedrine Alternatives?
The banning of Ephedrine in 2004 was a challenge to the supplement manufacturers who were making a mint off of its sale.
Many of them reacted by continuing to sell the name products, but with the ephedrine taken out.
The names would change only slightly so that they could still benefit from the brand recognition.
As a result, people who were used to taking ‘Ripped Fuel’ before the ban could now take ‘Ripped Fuel Extreme.
The only problem was that the product was now fat less extreme because the ephedrine had been taken out, to be replaced with the latest ‘miracle’ herb.
Often, the company simply pumped more caffeine into the product.
Even though there have been many ingredients that have been touted as the new Ephedrine, none of them have the potent effect of the original product.
Ephedra for Performance Enhancement
In 1999, a study was undertaken to see whether a combination of caffeine and ephedra could improve performance in a 3.3km running test.
Study participants were drawn from the Canadian armed forces and were wearing weighted gear when running.
Recruits who took the caffeine-ephedrine stack completed the race an average of close to 60 seconds faster than the placebo group.
In a maximal test, the caffeine-ephedra group lasted almost 5 minutes longer before exhaustion kicked in.
Ephedrine and caffeine taken prior to resistance training sessions can also boost performance.
An analysis of 140 serious reports attributed to ephedrine was completed in 2003.
31% of those reports were considered to be highly likely to be caused by taking ephedra alkaloids.
31% of the studies were deemed to be possibly related to ephedra.
Adding caffeine to ephehdra was shown to increase the likelihood of adverse effects. They will raise both your heart rate and your systolic blood pressure. (8)
It is also clear that synthetic ephedrine carries more side effects than ephedra in its natural state.
Ephedra, or Ma Huang, differs in potency depending on where and how it is grown.
Many doctors believe that taking ephedrone without medical supervision can lead to serious side effects.
Ephedra is the scientific name of the herbal plant Ma Huang from which ephedrine is extracted.
Ephedrine includes a number of alkaloids which promote fat loss and enhance sports performance.
However, the sale of ephedrine as a dietary supplement was banned in the United States in 2004, due to a number of concerning side effects.
It is still legal in some countries.
There has not been another herbal supplement ingredient that has had similar stimulant effects on the body as ephedrine.
- Ephedrine is an effective weight loss supplement
- It will enable you to lose body fat while retaining muscle mass
- The extent to which it works is less than the hype would suggest
- Ephedrine enhances certain athletic activities, which has led to it being banned as a performance enhancing drug
- There are a number of worrying side effects, including increased systolic pressure and heart rate
- Ephedrine as a dietary supplement has been banned in a number of countries
What Are The Best Supplements with Ephedra?
Now you know ephedra isn't banned and it's widely available, you may interested in trying or finding new ones that you haven't tried yet.
When it comes to the best supplements, we never suggest one an individual as everyone has different needs, goals and experience.
Someone who's never had a stimulant-based supplement should never jump to something hardcore like Lipodrene.
We'll start with the best sellers, then to the strongest to the weakest.
Best Selling Ephedra Pills And Pre Workouts
There are quite a few top sellers in the ephedra category, but it seems like the most effective formulas have multiple strong stimulants.
We'll start with the best seller and then list other ones that have different effects and dosages of ingredients.
1. Ford MD, Delaney KA, Ling LJ, Erickson T, editors. Clinical Toxicology. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2001.ISBN 0-7216-5485-1Research Laboratories; 1996.ISBN 0-911910-12-3
2. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Department of Health and Human Services; 21 CFR Part 119; “Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids Adulterated Because They Present an Unreasonable Risk; Final Rule”; February 11, 2014; Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/04-2912.htm
3. Zang, Xinyu, et. al; “A-Type Proanthocyanidins from the Stems of Ephedra sinica (Ephedraceae) and Their Antimicrobial Activities”; Molecules; 18, 5172-5189; 2013; Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/5/5172/pdf (backed up at http://www.webcitation.org/6dVSwSeof)
4. Amakura, Y; “Characterization of Phenolic Constituents from Ephedra Herb Extract”; Molecules; 18, 5326-5334; 2013; Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/5/5326/pdf (backed up at http://www.webcitation.org/6dVSblPgs)
5. Friedrich, H and Wiedemeyer, H; “Quantitative Determination of the Tannin–Precursors and the Tannins in Ephedra helvetica”; Planta Medica; 30(7); 223-231; 1976; Retrieved from https://www.thieme-connect.com/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0028-1097722
6. Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD; Mary L. Hardy, MD; Sally C. Morton, PhD; Margaret Maglione, MPP; Walter A. Mojica, MD, MPH; Marika J. Suttorp, MS; Shannon L. Rhodes, MFA; Lara Jungvig, BA; James Gagné, MD “Efficacy and Safety of Ephedra and Ephedrine for Weight Loss and Athletic Performance: A Meta-analysis”JAMA. 2003;289:1537-1545
7. Abourashed, E; “Ephedra in perspective–a current review.”; Phytotherapy Research; Aug;17(7):703-12; 2003; Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12916063
8. Abourashed, E; “Ephedra in perspective–a current review.”; Phytotherapy Research; Aug;17(7):703-12; 2003; Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12916063