Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs a bill that makes Illinois the first state to ban the sale of any dietary supplement containing Ephedra. Signing the bill into law means that stores will have to take Ephedra off the shelves immediately. The governor's action comes after the bill unanimously passed both houses of the Illinois legislature.
First time offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor. Any further violations would be considered a class 3 felony and subject to five years in jail. The law will not affect products that have been approved as safe by the federal drug administration.
Ephedra is a controversial supplement that is used for weight loss, increased energy and bodybuilding. The dietary supplement is currently banned by the NFL, the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA.
What is Ephedra?
- Known as Ma Huang, Ephedra is a member of the family of herbs known as the Ephedracae.
- Ephedra has been used in China for more than 4,000 years to treat symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections.
- American ephedra, native to the dry southwest, was used as tea by the early settlers, and was known as "Mormon tea" and "Squaw tea."
- Compounds derived from this herb are commonly found in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medications.
- Ephedra contains two alkaloids, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
- Ephedrine, the main constituent, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It also relieves swellings of the mucous membrane.
- Pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant and has less stimulating effect on the heart and blood pressure.
- Because of its stimulating effect on the nervous system, ephedra can be found in some popular weight loss and energy products.
- For dieters it suppresses the appetite and stimulates the thyroid gland which stimulates metabolism.
- Concerns over the potency of this herb and its isolated alkaloids have prompted increased regulatory scrutiny and industry label warnings.
Source: http://www.ephedra.demon.nl (The Ephedra Site)