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Ephedrine HCL

Ephedrine HCl (EPH) is a sympathomimetic amine, which is commonly used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, concentration aid (homework drug) and decongestant. Ephedrine is similar in structure to the synthetic derivatives amphetamine and methamphetamine, and indeed it a precursor, which aided in its reclassification.

Ephedrine as it stands is most usually marketed in the HydroChLoride (HCL / HCl) and Sulfate forms, the latter being more prescription and pharmaceutical use.. In traditional Chinese medicines, the herb Má Huáng (Ephedra Sinica) contains both Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine as its principal active constituents, so it works in slightly different ways and has different actions and effects. The same is true of other herbal products containing extracts from Ephedra species (Sinica/Viridis/Etc).

Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine, the principal mechanism of its action relies on its direct and indirect actions on the Adrenergic Receptor system, which is part of the Sympathetic Nervous System or SNS. Central nervous system or CNS involvement is present, but the predominant clinical effects are caused by involvement with the Sympathetic segment of the peripheral nervous system because while ephedrine does cross the blood-brain barrier, it doesn't do this very efficiently (efficient crossers with similar modes of action would include amphetamine and methamphetamine).

Ephedrine increases post-synaptic noradrenergic receptor activity by (weakly) but directly activating post-synaptic α-receptors (Alpha) and β-receptors (Beta), but the bulk of its effect comes from the pre-synaptic neuron being unable to distinguish between real adrenaline or noradrenaline from ephedrine. The ephedrine, mixed with noradrenaline, is transported through the noradrenaline reuptake complex and packaged (along with real noradrenaline) into vesicles that reside at the terminal button of a nerve cell.

As an alkaloid, having some small amount of ephedrine within a noradrenaline vesicle increases the overall pH of the vesicle. This has the effect of increasing likelihood that the affected vesicle will be released during any subsequent action potential the nerve cell experiences. This means the more active you are, the more vesicles are released, this delivers a stronger effect, resulting in a boost in power, energy and determination.

Its action as an agonist at most major noradrenaline receptors and its ability to increase the release of both Dopamine and to a lesser extent, Serotonin by the same mechanism as explained above for norepinephrine.

While Ephedrine's role in the serotonin system is less understood there is preliminary documentation of clinically significant agonism at excitory serotonin receptors, perhaps as a downstream response to the large release of norepinephrine in the Nucleus Accumbens (commonly referred to as the "Pleasure Center" of the brain). In mice, stereotypical behaviour was both easily induced by administration of ephedrine and its primary alkaloids and reversed when serotonin antagonists were administered.


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