Ephedra is a plant that grows in Asia and the Southwestern United States. It has been used for weight loss. The FDA has banned ephedra in weight loss products due to safety concerns. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or made into a tea.
There are no advised doses for ephedra.
What Research Shows
There is not enough data to support that ephedra is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Ephedra is not safe. Products with ephedra are banned in the United States. The US Food and Drug Administration does not advise taking ephedra or ephedra-like products. They may cause irregular heart activity and many other health problems, such as stroke and heart attack. No one should take ephedra.A1-A3
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
A1. Haller CA, Benowitz NL. Adverse cardiovascular and central nervous system events associated with dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids. N Engl J Med. 2000;343(25):1833-1838.
A2. Andraws R, Chawla P, et al. Cardiovascular effects of ephedra alkaloids: a comprehensive review. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2005 Jan-Feb;47(4):217-225. Review.
A3. Pittler MH, Schmidt K, et al. Adverse events of herbal food supplements for body weight reduction: systematic review. Obes Rev. 2005 May;6(2):93-111. Review.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/6/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.