As the FDA Banned Ephedra, Over-The-Counter Sudafed Fueled Widespread Harm By Providing Raw Materials for Illegal Methamphetamine Labs

Friday, August 06, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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The proliferation of methamphetamine labs, also known as "meth labs," is a growing problem in the United States. Not only do these meth labs produce illegal drugs that harm those who choose to take them, these labs also occasionally explode, killing their inhabitants. But one of the most common ingredients used to make methamphetamines is a chemical compound known as pseudoephedrine. This pseudoephedrine is known by the popular brand name Sudafed, which is, of course, an over-the-counter medicine. What's interesting about all of this is that pseudoephedrine is a chemical compound also found in the medicinal herb known as ephedra. In fact, the name Sudafed is derived from the name of the herb ephedra.

The FDA has banned ephedra as a dangerous herb, citing a few deaths from people who abused the herb as a weight-loss aid. And yet, at the same time, the FDA never banned the sale of Sudafed, even though it contains the chemical compound found in ephedra. The herb, of course, is far safer than any over-the-counter medication because its chemicals are not so highly concentrated as they are in the medication. That's why people who make meth drugs were purchasing large quantities of Sudafed rather than growing and harvesting their own ma huang plants. So, while the FDA was out screaming about the dangers of ephedra, they said nothing about the dangers of Sudafed, and in fact continued to allow it to be sold, over the counter, to anyone willing to pay for it.

I have a couple of questions about this -- first, a question directed to the FDA. If the active ingredients in ephedra are so dangerous to the American public, then why are you still allowing them to be sold in Sudafed? Actually, I think I already know the answer to that. That's because Sudafed generates profits for pharmaceutical companies, but ma huang is a healing herb, and anytime the FDA can discredit herbal medicine it will do so, even when the exact same chemical compounds are being sold in over-the-counter medications. The second question is, if Sudafed is being purchased by illegal drug dealers in order to manufacture meth drugs that are presumably harming and killing tens of thousands of Americans each year, then why isn't Sudafed being banned from over-the-counter sales?

Obviously, Sudafed is far more dangerous than the ma huang herb. People are outright buying it and using it to manufacture illegal methamphetamine drugs. And yet Sudafed remains 100% legal to purchase anywhere in the country without a prescription.

The big picture here, folks, is that in banning the herb ma huang, the FDA was really just out to get herbal medicine. They wanted to discredit the herb, and they grossly distorted the truth in order to do that. They managed to find a few people who had been harmed by taking massive doses of the herb, and from that, they were able to ban the sale of the herb and the importation of the herb, affecting all consumers in America.

By doing that, the FDA took away one more piece of your freedom by restricting you from being able to choose an herb that has been safely used around the world for thousands of years to treat a variety of medical conditions. At the same time, the FDA neglected to mention that Sudafed contains some of the same active ingredients and that it is available without a prescription as an over-the-counter medication (and on the internet as well). They failed to mention that Sudafed is being purchased by criminals who are using it to manufacture methamphetamines, and in this way Sudafed is fueling a massive underground drug economy that is causing untold harm to the population of this country.

In this way, the FDA performed an incredible feat of misdirection. They got the whole country to look at ma huang while ignoring the fact that Sudafed is the dangerous drug here. It is Sudafed that is causing the deaths of people by serving as a primary ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamines. It is Sudafed that should have been banned by the FDA, or at least national warnings should have gone out about Sudafed. But you didn't hear any of that in the national press. What you heard was how dangerous ma huang was. You heard how people were being killed by this potentially dangerous and unregulated medicinal herb. Well, Sudafed is regulated. Sudafed is sold with the full approval of the FDA, and yet, it is fueling the manufacture of highly toxic methamphetamine drugs.

So, there you have it folks -- one more chapter in the history of the oppression of your health freedom by the FDA, which seems to have as its primary mission wiping out all alternative medicine, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, and anything it can't control or regulate. Meanwhile, the FDA continues to promote and approve extremely toxic, dangerous and even deadly substances, and even allows them to be sold over the counter, without any prescription required, to anyone who can walk up to the counter with a $5 bill. Welcome to organized medicine -- this is the system under which we all live today.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has created several downloadable courses on survival and preparedness, including his widely-downloaded course on personal safety and self-defense. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams launched, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products ( and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at

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