Friday, February 28, 2003

Herbal stimulant 'should be banned'

US researchers are calling for the herbal stimulant ephedra to be banned, suggesting using it is hundreds of times riskier than other remedies.

Products containing ephedra, or ma-haung, are used to promote weight-loss and boost energy.
But it is known to cause side-effects including anxiety, insomnia, raised blood pressure and heart rate, and even potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center say their findings suggest the US Food and Drug Administration should either better regulate ephedra or ban it altogether.

In the UK, the sale of ephedra is already restricted so products containing less than 1,800 milligrams can only be sold following a consultation with a herbal medicine practitioner.

Products containing higher doses of ephedra can only be sold in pharmacies.


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