The key difference between Ephedra and ephedrine is that Ephedra is stronger and more dangerous as a drug than ephedrine.
Ephedra is a medicine that is prepared from the plant Ephedra sinica. Ephedrine is a component in ephedra formulation.
What is Ephedra?
Ephedra is a medicine that is prepared from the plant Ephedra sinica. However, there are some additional species of the genus Ephedra we can use to produce this medicine. This preparation was used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 2000 years. However, it is now considered as an unsafe preparation because scientists have found that the dietary supplements containing the alkaloids of Ephedra can cause dangerous side effects, even death.
Different species of Ephedra genus contains different alkaloid and non-alkaloid compounds including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These compounds are sources of the stimulant and thermogenic effects of Ephedra. These components can stimulate the brain, increasing the heart rate by constricting the blood vessels and expanding the bronchial tubes. The thermogenic properties of Ephedra can cause an increase in metabolism and can increase blood heat.
More importantly, we can observe that athletes tend to consume this medicine as a performance-enhancing drug, though there is no evidence of Ephedra improving athletic performance. In addition, this medicine has been used in the past as a weight-loss aid, in combination with caffeine and aspirin.
The adverse side effects of Ephedra include skin reactions, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, headache, insomnia, dehydration, itchy scalp, and skin, hyperthermia, etc. The dangerous side effects of this drug may include irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
What is Ephedrine?
Ephedrine is a medication and a stimulant that is useful in preventing low blood pressure during spinal anaesthesia. We can also use this drug to treat asthma, narcolepsy, and obesity. The route of administration preferred for this drug is the mouth, but we can take it as an injection into a muscle, vein, or just under the skin as well. The intravenous injection is the fastest route of administration into the body. Taking the medication from the mouth can take it hours to give the preferred effect.
There are some common side effects of ephedrine, including trouble sleeping, anxiety, headache, hallucinations, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, loss of appetite, and inability to urinate. Moreover, there are some adverse side effects as well, e.g. stroke, heart attack, and abuse.
What are the Similarities Between Ephedra and Ephedrine?
- Both are important medications.
- We can prepare them from the plants of some species of the genus Ephedra.
- These medications can act as stimulants.
- They have some serious side effects as well.
What is the Difference Between Ephedra and Ephedrine?
Ephedra and ephedrine are medications and are stimulants. Ephedra contains some components, including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Therefore, ephedrine is a single component in ephedra. The key difference between Ephedra and ephedrine is that Ephedra is stronger and more dangerous as a drug than ephedrine.
The following table summarizes the differences between Ephedra and ephedrine.
Summary – Ephedra vs Ephedrine
Ephedrine is a component in Ephedra. Ephedra is a medication that is prepared using plants of Ephedra sinica species. The key difference between Ephedra and ephedrine is that Ephedra is stronger and more dangerous as a drug than ephedrine.
1. “Ephedra: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” WebMD, Available here.
1. “EphedrineInBottles” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Ephedrine enantiomers” By Vaccinationist – (1R,2S)-(−)-ephedrine on PubChem(1S,2R)-(+)-ephedrine on PubChem (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia