From: Steve Dyer (sdyer@bbnccv.UUCP)
Subject: Re: Herbal Speed
Date: 1985-04-06 09:45:12 PST
l-ephedrine and d-pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) are optical isomers of each other, there being two chiral carbon atoms in the ephedrine molecule. The differences, if any, between the two drugs are rather poorly characterized in most pharmacology textbooks, although pseudo-ephedrine seems to be more popular these days as a component of most OTC cold/allergy nostrums, perhaps because of Burroughs-Wellcome's successful merchandizing of the drug under the trade name "Sudafed." Ephedrine, however, languishes unpatented and unpromoted, an old drug unsuited to big profits.
Either of these drugs will provide a mild bit of central stimulation, although unlike amphetamine, it is associated with significant peripheral effects (raised BP, vasoconstriction, bronchodilation). It is interesting to note that a single oxygen atom differentiates ephedrine from methamphetamine (a hydroxyl "OH" group in place of a hydrogen atom.)
Another "herbal stimulant" being foisted upon the
naive-but-earnest food cultists is "guarana", a tropical plant whose active
ingredient turns out to be caffeine! Only recently have health-food
distributors been required to identify that their guarana preparations
undoubtedly a surprise to those who used to scorn coffee and turned to
something more "herbal."