Degree awarded: M.S. Chemistry. American University
Ephedra, a plant extract, is known to contain six alkaloids--ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, methylephedrine, and methylpseudoephedrine. Of these six alkaloids, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are present in the highest concentrations. When consumed, the effects of ephedrine include increased heart rate and blood pressure, stimulation of the central nervous system, and dilation of the bronchial tubes. The effects of pseudoephedrine include insomnia, excitability and anxiety.Using GC-MS, this study is designed to analyze the alkaloids in Ephedra from two sources to determine if Ephedra alkaloids are present and if so, which ones.