Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

This monograph is intended to serve as a guide to industry for the preparation of Product Licence Applications (PLAs) and labels for natural health product market authorization. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the medicinal ingredient.


Compliance with Precursor Control Regulations:

The Precursor Control Regulations (PCR) (JC 2019) allows Canada to fulfill its international obligations with respect to the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, and provides a framework for the regulation of activities involving precursor chemicals which can be used in the production of illicit drugs and substances. Under the PCR, regulated chemicals are grouped into two classes: Class A and Class B. For Class A precursors such as ephedra, ephedrine, and/or products containing them, persons wishing to be involved in activities such as importation, exportation, production, packaging, selling, and/or providing must first obtain a licence.

Further information regarding compliance with the PCR, including application forms and guidance documents pertaining to the application for a Class A precursor licence, is available at: http://www.healthcanada.gc.ca/precursors.


August 5, 2019

Proper name(s), Common name(s), Source material(s)

Table 1. Proper name(s), Common name(s), Source material(s)
Proper name(s) Common name(s) Source material(s)
Proper name(s) Part(s) Preparation

Ephedra sinica

  • Cao ma-huang
  • Chinese ephedra
  • Chinese joint-fir
  • Ephedra
  • Ma-huang

Ephedra sinica

  • Branch
  • Branchlet
  • Stem


References: Proper name: USDA 2019, McGuffin et al. 2000; Common names: USDA 2019, Brinker 2010, Blumenthal et al. 2000, McGuffin et al. 2000; Source materials: Hoffman 2003, DerMarderosian and Beutler 2002, Blumenthal et al. 2000, Liguo et al. 1999.

Route of Administration


Dosage Form(s)

This monograph excludes foods or food-like dosage forms as indicated in the Compendium of Monographs Guidance Document.

Acceptable dosage forms for the age category listed in this monograph and specified route of administration are indicated in the Compendium of Monographs Guidance Document.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Used in Herbal Medicine as a decongestant/to relieve nasal congestion (due to hay fever/allergic rhinitis/allergies/sinusitis/the common cold/flu) (Mills and Bone 2005; Mehendale et al. 2004; Hoffman 2003; Blumenthal et al. 2000; BHP 1983).



Adults 18 years and older


Methods of preparation: Standardized extracts

Extract providing 8 - 32 milligrams of l-Ephedrine, per day; Not to exceed 8 milligrams of l-Ephedrine per single dose; and Quantity crude equivalent 400 - 1,600 milligrams of dried branchlet and/or branch, and/or stem, per day (HC 2008; HC 2007; MHRA 2005; US FDA 2004; Pickup et al. 1976).

Direction(s) for use

No statement required.

Duration(s) of Use

Consult a health care practitioner/health care provider/health care professional/doctor/physician for use beyond 7 days (Mills and Bone 2005; US FDA 2004; Blumenthal et al 2000).

Risk Information

Caution(s) and warning(s)


Do not use this product if you are taking or have taken monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors in the past two weeks (Brinker 2010; Greenway et al. 2004; Hoffman 2003; Brinker 2001; Blumenthal et al. 2000; Kalman et al. 2000; Dingemanse et al. 1996; Dawson et al. 1995; Elis et al. 1967).

Known adverse reaction(s)

Stop use in case of restlessness, irritability, dizziness, tremors, severe headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and/or disturbance of urination (Bensky et al. 2004; Mehendale et al. 2004; Shekelle et al. 2003; Boozer et al. 2001; McGuffin et al. 1997; Astrup et al. 1992).

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database (NHPID) and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.

Storage conditions

Store protected from light and moisture (BP 2009; USP 32 2009; Ph. Eur. 2007).


References Cited

References Reviewed