portland independent media center  
images audio video
feature article reporting united states

drug war | government | health

Relatively harmless herb Ephedra illegal as of today

What's more plausible - that the government has outlawed ephedra because it's LINKED to 155 deaths in history, or because the pHarmacuetical industry is one of the biggest political contributors and doesn't want a natural extract as a competitor that can't be trademarked and regulated?

Ephedra is the main active ingredient of Ma Huang, an herb that has been used for thousands of years to alleviate symptoms of asthma, upper respiratory infection, nasal and chest congestion, and to increase metabolism. The Food and Drug Administration, citing a TOTAL of 155 deaths that have been LINKED to it, has banned all sales of it as of today, April 12, 2004.

The move marks the first time the government has outlawed a dietary supplement and will set a precedent for action against other "risky" products, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said. "For too long, dietary supplements containing (ephedra) have been heavily promoted and widely used. They are simply too "risky", Thomson said at a news conference. Bush administration officials said several recent developments allowed them to take action against a substance that had been under scrutiny for at least six years.

read more>>