EPHEDRINE AND PSEUDOEPHEDRINE interactions with herbs.

Common names: Balminil Decongestant, Boots Child Sugar Free Decongestant Syrup, Boots Decongestant Tablets, Bronalin Decongestant Elixir, CAM, Drixoral N.D., Eltor 120, Eltor, Galpseud, Novafed, Pretz-D, Pseudofrin, Sudafed,Vick’s Vatronol

Combination drugs: Alka-Seltzer Plus, Allegra-D, Chlor-Trimeton 12 Hour, Claritin-D, Nyquil, Nyquil Hot Therapy Powder, Primatene Dual Action,Theraflu,Tylenol Allergy Sinus,Tylenol Cold,Tylenol Flu NightTime Maximum Strength Powder,Tylenol Multi-Symptom Hot Medication,Tylenol Sinus

Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are closely related drugs with actions and side effects similar to the hormone epinephrine  (adrenaline). Ephedrine, available in prescription and nonprescription strengths, is sometimes used to dilate bronchi, making it easier for people
with asthma to breathe. Nonprescription ephedrine nose drops and spray are used to relieve nasal congestion due to the flu or hay fever. Pseudoephedrine, a nonprescription
drug taken by mouth, can also be used to relieve this symptom.

Summary of Interactions for Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine

In some cases, an herb or supplement may appear in more than one category, which may seem contradictory. For clarification, read the full article for details about the summarized interactions.

✓ May be Beneficial: Supportive Coleus*

 Avoid: Reduced drug absorption/ Tanninbioavailability containing herbs* such as green tea, black tea, uva ursi, black walnut, red raspberry, oak, and witch hazel

 Avoid: Adverse interaction Caffeine Ephedra
 Check: Other Vitamin C

Depletion or interference None known
Side effect reduction/prevention None known

Interactions with Herbs


Ephedra is the plant from which ephedrine was originally isolated. Until 2004, ephedra—also called mahuang—was used in many herbal products, including supplements promoted for weight loss. To prevent potentially serious interactions, people taking ephedrine or pseudoephedrine should avoid using ephedra-containing drug products and should read product labels carefully for ma huang or ephedra content. Native
North American ephedra, sometimes called Mormon tea, contains no ephedrine.


A test tube study demonstrated that the bronchodilating effects of salbutamol, a drug with similar actions in the lung to ephedrine, were significantly increased by the addition of forskolin, the active component of the herb Coleus forskohlii.1 The results of this preliminary research suggest that the combination of forskolin and beta-agonists (like ephedrine) might provide an alternative to raising the doses of the beta-agonist drugs as
they lose effectiveness. Until more is known, coleus should not be combined with ephedrine without the supervision of a doctor.

Tannin-containing herbs

Tannins are a group of unrelated chemicals that give plants an astringent taste. Herbs containing high amounts of tannins may interfere with the absorption of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine taken by mouth.2 Herbs containing high levels of tannins include green
tea, black tea, uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), black walnut (Juglans nigra), red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), oak (Quercus spp.), and witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).

Interactions with Foods and Other Compounds


Foods that acidify the urine may increase the elimination of ephedrine from the body, potentially reducing the action of the drug.3 Urine-acidifying foods include eggs, peanuts, meat, chicken, vitamin C (greater than 5 grams per day), wheat-containing foods, and

Foods that alkalinize the urine may slow the elimination of ephedrine from the body, potentially increasing the actions and side effects of the drug.4 Urine-alkalinizing foods include dairy products, nuts, vegetables (except corn and lentils), most fruits, and

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