If there were a product that could be used to help a person lose weight or gain a boost of energy, it would most likely be one of the hottest selling products on the market. However, if it were known that this product, or more so an ingredient in this product, were responsible for hundreds of deaths among Americans, would people continue to use it?. Or at least use it legally? Let's see the choices, work out to stay healthy--risk free, or take a simple product--no guarantee. Now that is a hard decision! Well, the sad part is that millions of people take products that contain ephedrine and not all of the users survive. After more than eight hundred deaths among Americans alone, it would be the smart decision to start studying this harmful substance and make it illegal. .
In 1997, Sarah Ingham was close to death after experiencing a stroke right before her wedding. With a month until the big day, she wished to look her best, so she decided to lose ten pounds before slipping into the dress. For nearly that entire month, Ms. Ingham continued to use a dietary supplement containing ephedrine. She is one of the lucky few who will be able to tell her story for years to come (Epstein, 1). However, Ms. Ingham is amongst a substantial group of people who do not have a great deal of knowledge on the subject of ephedrine. It is surprising to see how little some know about the substances they put into their own bodies. .
Nearly five thousand years ago, the Chinese (Reynolds, 341) began using a native spindly shrub called ephedra sinica. The people used ephedra, also known as ma huang, for recuperation purposes during and after an illness. Adding some ephedra to tea would open up a persons "bronchial passages and stimulate their nervous and cardiovascular systems (Epstein, 1)." This herbal remedy was only taken for a weeks time at the most (Epstein, [Leung], 1) and treated asthma, colds, and the flu.