April 14,2005 federal judge Tena Campbell of the federal district court in Salt Lake City Utah reversed the ban on ephedra.
Ephedra is a herb used over 5000 years ago to treat several disorders,such as asthma and bronchitis.Because ephedra has the ability to increase metabolism,and burn fat it became a popular ingredient used in diet pills.
About 12 to 17 million people consumed ephedra in 1999, reports the American Herbal Products Association. The Nutrition Business Journal estimated that sales of ephedra in 2002 were $1.25 billion.
Ephedra is so powerful its safety was questioned,the FDA removed ephedra also known by its chinese name Ma-huang from the market in April 2004, claiming that it was responsible for dozens of deaths.
The ban on ephedra didn't affect the sale of over-the-counter cold medications such as decongestants which often contain ephedrine in synthetic form.
Judge Campbell states that drug agencies had failed to prove that ephedra at low doses was dangerous,and that it lacked the authority to ban the substance without such proof.She called
for the FDA to lift the ban on ephedra.
The US ban on ephedra was lifted,among other things the court clarified that the FDA must follow the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act(DSHEA),and can not treat dietary
supplements like drugs or medical devices.
According to the court low doses of ephedra do not pose significant or unreasonable risk by a preponderance of the evidence.Companies that sell ephedra based products are allowed to resume selling whole herb ephedra products with no more than 10mg of naturally occurring ephedrine alkaloids.
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