I've been scouring the internet for the ephedra ban that was supposed to go into effect 4/11/2004. This law obviously affects us because my school clinic has taken ephedra (ma huang) and pinellia (ban xia), which contains ephedra alkaloids, off our shelves along with formulas that contain the said ingredients. However, I've also heard that there is a lobby trying to fight this in Washington, D.C. so that we can continue to prescribe these herbs for our practice, but haven't heard the outcome of that. Can anyone update me on this current issue?
You can read the ephedra "ban" at the FDA website:
The most important part from the standpoint of TCM is that according to their own FAQ this ruling *does not* pertain to Chinese herbs. Below is a quote from their FAQ:
* What types of products are subject to the rule?
The rule applies to all dietary supplements that contain a source of ephedrine alkaloids, such as ephedra, Ma huang, Sida cordifolia and pinellia.
* Are all products containing ephedra affected?
Essentially all currently marketed dietary supplements that contain ephedrine alkaloids will be affected by the rule.
** The scope of the rule does not pertain to traditional Chinese herbal remedies. **
It generally doesn't apply to products like herbal teas that are regulated as conventional foods. Ephedra is not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for foods and not approved for use as a food additive.