Ephedra: Victory for Acupuncturists
in New York
Ephedra Not For Minors
A three month long legislative battle in Suffolk County, New
York ended December 18th. The legislature had been considering
banning all ephedra sales. Ephedra is an important natural remedy
for coughing and wheezing. It is best used as part of herbal formulas
prescribed by licensed trained acupuncturists (who are also herbalists).
Ephedra has gotten quite a bit of negative press because it is
often misused as a stimulant.
California has set a great precedent that allows Ephedra only
to be prescribed by acupuncturists. Suffolk County didn't follow
that precedent. However, they did ban the sales of Ephedra to
This ban should decrease the incidence of negative health effects
from ephedra. However, there are plenty of adults who will consciously
misuse Ephedra. This fact has not been addressed by the legislature.
For the time being, Ephedra's proper usage by acupuncturists has
been safe-guarded. Still, the public's safety has not been adequately
Nov 14, 2002:
The MA HUANG issue in Suffolk County is NOT over. PLEASE ACT
NOW!!! and urge others to act as well.
Legislator Jon Cooper (18th District) has not been responsive
to our attempts to help him to adapt his bill. WE HAT TO STOP
JON COOPER'S MISGUIDED ATTEMPT TO BAN MA HUANG (RE 1954).
Alternative Bipartisan legislation is going to be introduced
by Legislators Cameron Alden (10th District) and Martin W. Haley
(6th District). Their Resolution (RE 2153) will ban sales of ephedrine
products to minors (under age 18). This bill preserves our freedom
and protects minors from the inappropriate use of Ma Huang as
a street drug. It represents a good compromise.
What Can You Do?
1. Please come to the Suffolk County Legislative session on Tuesday
November 19 and speak against Jon Cooper's Bill (RE 1954) and
in favor of Cameron Alden's Bill (RE 2153). THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
The more people we have at the session, the better our chances
are. Bring a friend/family member. Arrive by 8:30 am, sign in
(you will be asked to fill out a yellow card) and speak up for
your profession. You will have a maximum of 3 minutes to speak.
If you have questions about what to say, please feel free to contact
2. Please write, fax or e-mail all Suffolk County legislators
in support of RE 2153. ONLY DO THIS ONCE AND ONLY IF YOU LIVE
IN SUFFOLK COUNTY. Spamming or high volume faxing hurts our cause.
Please also contact your own legislator and speak against Jon
Cooper's Bill (RE 1954).
We do not have much time. Please act now!!! Letters/e-mails/calls
must be received by Monday, November 18th. We would also appreciate
it if when you fax/e-mail/call, send a copy of your letter or
an e-mail to us to let us know that you did this. Also, if you
plan to attend Tuesday's meeting, please let us know.
Directions to the Suffolk County meetings can be found below.
A list of legislators with contact information can be found below.
Thank you for your help. Please act quickly and support your
freedom to use Ma Huang. Please forward this e-mail to anyone
Safe & Responsible Health Care for Suffolk County
Kevin V. Ergil
Marnae C. Ergil
To contact us:
phone: (631) 549-6755 (leave message)
Address: 168 Main St. Huntington, NY 11743
Points to Stress:
Please address the legislator as Honorable as in The Honorable
Fred Smith. Remember that many of these people already support
our position and those that do not will respond better to courtesy.
1. RE 2153 is a good compromise that is well thought out and
addresses the major concerns: the use of ephedra as a street drug
2. RE 2153 is supported by the Suffolk County PTA
3. RE 2153 is a bipartisan bill that preserves the freedom of
adults to make informed decisions.
1. RE 1954 will deprive residents of Suffolk county of a resource
that is enjoyed by most other Americans and New Yorkers.
2. The patients of herbalists and other individuals will suffer
from lack of access to this herb.
3. The FDA regulates all ephedra products now and has always acted
against this type of product when the public was at risk.
4. The Dietary Supplements Health And Education Act (DSHEA) provides
suitable protection for the public while providing access to useful
5. Adverse Event Reporting has no particular scientific value
and oversight agencies such as the Government Accounting Office
(GAO) have criticized the FDA for the poor quality of its data.
The data includes reports of deaths that have been shown not to
have been caused by Ephedra sinica, and are still reported as
associated deaths. It is not appropriate to reduce peoples
freedoms based on poor and misleading information.
6. Regardless of the quality of the data, the adverse events reported
are far fewer than those reported for over-the counter preparations
such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which kills 100 people each year
and causes 2000 more to be hospitalized (New York Times 9/20/02
pp A 25.
DIRECTIONS TO THE WILLIAM ROGERS LEGISLATURE BUILDING IN HAUPPAUGE
725 VETERANS MEMORIAL HIGHWAY
TAKE THE NORTHERN STATE PARKWAY EAST ALL THE WAY TO THE END WHERE
IT MERGES INTO ROUTE 347. GO TO THE SECOND LIGHT AND MAKE A LEFT
ONTO OLD WILLETS PATH. MAKE THE FIRST RIGHT AND THE WILLIAM ROGERS
LEGISLATURE BUILDING IS THE SECOND BUILDING ON THE RIGHT.
List of legislators
Hon. Michael J. Caracciolo
633 East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
Phone: 852·3200 Fax: 852·3203 email: Michael.Caracciolo@co.suffolk.ny.us
The First Legislative District stretches from Middle Island in
Brookhaven Town to the eastern most corner of New York State,
Hon. George Guldi
140 W. Montauk Highway
Hampton Bays, NY 11946
Phone: 852-8200 Fax: 852-8203 email: George.Guldi@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 2nd Legislative includes the residents of the Towns of East
Hampton, South Hampton, Southeastern part of Brookhaven.
Hon. Fred W. Towle, Jr.
640 Montauk Highway
Shirley, NY 11967
Phone: 852-1300 Fax: 852-1303 email: Fred.Towle@co.suffolk.ny.us
No description available
Hon. Joseph T. Caracappa
248 Middle Country Road
Bldg 1/Suite 3
Selden, NY 11784
Phone: 854-2700 Fax: 854-2703 e-mail:Joseph.Caracappa@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 4th Legislative District is located in the central- eastern
portion of Suffolk County encompassing the central section of
Brookhaven Town. The district includes Selden, Centereach, Farmingville,
and parts of Coram, Lake Ronkonkoma, Ronkonkoma, Medford and Port
Jefferson Station. The district is bounded roughly by Old Town
Road to the North, Hawkins Avenue and Pond Path to the West, Route
112 to the East, and Portion Road to the South.
Hon. Vivian Fisher
46 Route 25A - Suite 5
East Setauket, NY 11733
Phone: 854-1500 Fax: 854-1503 e-mail: Vivian. Fisher@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 5th Suffolk County Legislative District (L.D.) is located
in the north central section of Suffolk County encompassing the
north west section of the Town of Brookhaven. The district includes
Setauket, East Setauket, South Setauket, Stony Brook and parts
of Port Jefferson Station, Terryville, Selden and Centereach.
The district also includes the following villages: Belle Terre,
Lake Grove, Old Field, Port Jefferson and Poquott. The district
is bounded roughly by the Long Island Sound to the north, Bicycle
Path to the east, Middle Country Road to the south and the Town
of Smithtown to the west.
Hon. Martin W. Haley
725 Route 25A
Miller Place, NY 11764
Phone: 854-1600 Fax: 854-1603 e-mail: Martin.Haley@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 6th Legislative District is located in the northeast portion
of the Town of Brookhaven. This District serves the Hamlets of
Mount Sinai, Miller Place, Sound Beach, Rocky Point, and parts
of Shoreham, Ridge, Middle Island, Coram, and Port Jefferson Station.
Hon. Brian X. Foley
90 W. Main St - Suite 2N
Patchogue, NY 11772
Phone: 854-1400 Fax: 854-1403 e-mail: Brian.Foley@co.suffolk.ny.us
No description available
Hon. William J. Lindsay
991 Main Street
Holbrook, NY 11741
Phone: 854-9611 Fax: 854-9687 e-mail: William.Lindsay@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 8th Suffolk County Legislative District is located in the
south central part of Suffolk County. The entire district is within
the Town of Islip. It includes all of Bayport and parts of Sayville,
Bohemia, Holbrook, Holtsville, and Ronkonkoma. The district boundaries
are at the Islip-Brookhaven line on the east and the Great South
Bay on the south. The western boundary is a jagged line that separates
Sayville and West Sayville and runs north through the communities
of Bohemia into Ronkonkoma. The northern boundary is the Islip-Smithtown
border in Lake Ronkonkoma and the Islip-Brookhaven border in Holbrook.
Hon. Ginny Fields
1227 B Montauk Highway Oakdale, NY 11769
Phone: 854-4909 Fax: 854-4928 e-mail: Ginny.Fields@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 9th legislative District is located in the western section
of the Town of Islip. The district includes Central Islip, Great
River, East Islip, Islip Terrace, Oakdale, and small sections
of Hauppauge, Bohemia, and West Sayville. The district is bounded
roughly by Veterans Highway to the North, Route 111 the west,
the Great South Bay to the south, and Cherry Avenue to the east
with Montauk Highway and Sunrise Highway running through the heart
of the district west to east.
Hon. Cameron Alden
577 Main Street
Islip, NY 1175
Phone: 854-0940 Fax: 854-0943 e-mail: Cameron. Alden@co.suffolk.ny.us
No description available
Hon. Angie Carpenter
4 Udall Road
West Islip, NY 11795
Phone: 854-4100 Fax: 854-4103 e-mail: Angie.Carpenter@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 11th District is located on the western south shore of Suffolk
County encompassing the south shores communities of the Town of
Islip, including Fire Island. The district includes portions of
Bay Shore, Brentwood, and Fire Island, and all of Brightwaters
and West Islip. The district is bound roughly by the Great South
Bay to our south, Route 231 to our west, and the Long Island Expressway
to our north.
Hon. Andrew Crecca
111 Smithtown Bypass Suite 120
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Phone: 854-3735 Fax: 854-3744 e-mail:Andrew.Crecca@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 12th Suffolk County Legislative District is located in the
western-central portion of Suffolk County encompassing the southern
section of the Town of Smithtown, the northeastern section of
Islip, southeast Huntington and western Brookhaven. The district
includes Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch
and parts of Commack, Islandia, Ronkonkoma and Lake Grove. The
district is bounded roughly by Route 25 to the North, Larkfield
Road to the west, the Long Island Expressway to the south, and
Hawkins Avenue to the east with Veteran's Memorial Highway running
through the heart of the district northwest to southeast.
Lynne C. Nowick
59 Landing Avenue
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: 854-3900 Fax: 854-3903 e-mail: Lynne.Nowick@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 13th Legislative District is located in the northern portion
of Long Island, New York. It encompasses the Town of Smithtown
and a small portion of the Town of Huntington. The district includes
Smithtown, Fort Salonga, Kings Park, San Remo, Nissequogue, Head
of the Harbor, and St. James, as well as portions of Commack and
East Northport. The district is bounded by Route 25 to the south,
Larkfield Road to the west, the Long Island Sound to the north,
and the Brookhaven Town line to the east.
Hon. David Bishop
277 S. Wellwood Avenue
Lindehurst, NY 11757
Phone: 854-1100 Fax: 854-1103 e-mail:David.Bishop@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 14th Legislative District is located along the South Shore
portion of Suffolk County encompassing the southern section of
the Town of Babylon. The district includes Amityville Village,
Babylon Village, Lindenhusrt Village, and Copiague south of Montauk
Highway and parts of West Babylon. The district is bounded roughly
by the Southern State Parkway to the north, the great South Bay
to the south, County Line Road in Amityville to the west and Route
231 to the east.
Hon. Maxine Postal
Deputy Presiding Officer
15 Albany Ave.
Amityville, NY 11701
Phone: 854-1111 Fax: 854-1114 e-mail: Maxine.Postal@co.suffolk.ny.us
The 15th Legislative District is located in the southwesternmost
portion of Suffolk County. It is bounded on the west by the Nassau/Suffolk
County line and on the north by the Babylon/Huntington Town line.
It includes Wheatley Heights, Wyandanch, North Amityville, parts
of Amityville Village, Copiague, North Lindenhurst, West Babylon,
North Babylon, and the portion of Farmingdale which lies in Suffolk
Hon. Allan Binder
1789 East Jericho Turnpike
Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: 854-5100 Fax: 854-5103 e-mail: Allan.Binder@co.suffolk.ny.us
No description available
Hon. Paul J. Tonna
1996 Deer Park Avenue
Deer Park, NY 11729
Phone: 854-1900 Fax: 854-1903 e-mail: Paul.Tonna@co.suffolk.ny.us
17th Legislative District is located in Huntington, Huntington
Station, Melville and West Hills in the Town of Huntington. The
17th Legislative District also includes the communities of Deer
Park and North Babylon in the Town of Babylon. The districts
boundaries are the railroad tracks to the north and Sunrise Highway
to the south. In the Town of Huntington, the east-west boundaries
are Manor Road and the Nassau county border. In the Town of Babylon,
the east-west boundaries are Deer Park Avenue to the east and
Little East Neck Road and Straight Path Road to the west.
Hon. Jon Cooper
215 E. Main St.
Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: 854-4500 Fax: 854-4503 e-mail: Jon.Cooper@co.suffolk.ny.us
The l8th legislative district encompasses the northern portions
of Huntington Township. The district includes the communities
of Cold Spring Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, Huntington Village, Halesite,
Huntington Bay, Little Neck, Centerport, Northport, Asharoken
and Eaton's Neck. Its southern border includes parts of Huntington
Station, Greenlawn and East Northport.
Oppose the Current Bill
- Legislator Considering Amendment to Exempt Acupuncturists
from the Ephedra Ban
October 14, 2002
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
As many of you already know, IR 1954, the bill that would completely
ban the sale of ephedra (ma huang) products in Suffolk County
was not voted upon last week. Instead, Huntington Legislator Jon
Cooper decided to hold the bill so that he could make changes.
After speaking with Kevin and Marnae Ergil, and listening to
the testimony of Kevin and Marnae as well as Sue Risoli and Tish
McCrae, one of the changes that he is considering is writing an
exemption to the bill that would allow individuals who have taken
and passed the NCCAOM herb exam to be exempt from the restrictions
of the bill because they use the substance for its traditional
purpose and because they can show that they have completed extensive
study in herbs and have passed an examination.
Legislator Cooper is determined to pass this bill in some form
and he wants to stop health care practitioners who are not appropriately
trained in herbal medicine from selling the substance in any form.
The NCCAOM exam is the only instrument available that assesses
an individuals knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine.
Should this amendment be included in the bill and the bill pass,
we would consider this a great victory. It is extremely important
that we begin to recognize that the field of herbal medicine is
under intense scrutiny and we need to show that we have completed
training and examinations that support our practice. We can no
longer ignore this issue. Passage of this bill could serve as
an example for NY State at a later date.
However, there are no guarantees that this will happen and it
is important that we continue in our grass-roots effort to prevent
the passage of the bill in its current form. The bill will be
voted upon at the November 19 meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Over the next several weeks, we must continue to write and call
our legislators, explain to them that we oppose the bill in its
current form and encourage an amendment that would exempt NCCAOM
diplomats. We would also like to organize groups to meet with
their legislators and discuss the issue. If you are interested
in meeting with your legislator, please contact Marnae Ergil.
Give your name and how you can be reached, and also let us know
what legislative district you are in.
We cannot sit back and ignore this issue. We must act decisively
and continue to express our views. Please do not assume that you
do not have to act and that someone else will do it for you.
Thank you very much for your help to this point. Keep up the
Marnae C. Ergil, MS, L.Ac.
Kevin V. Ergil, MS, L.Ac.
Email us for their contact
A Model for other States- California's Solution
to the Ephedra problem
[I received this email in response to the above article.]
In recent years, everybody and anybody with little political
clout wants to control Complementary Alternative Medicine.
In the State of California, there has been same attempt to regulate
the usage of Ma Huang / Ephedra. But, CSOMA (California State
Oriental Medical Association) and the grass root efforts by our
members pursuaded the author of that bill (S. Davis of San Diego,
CA) to exclude the usage of Ma Huang / Ephedra by the Licensed
That bill has passed both State Assembly and the State Senate
and has been signed by the Governor of the State of California.
However, the Licensed Acupuncturists were excluded from the "Ban"
of Ma Huang / Ephedra usage.
Please inquire CSOMA regarding this past bill in the State of
California. CSOMA can be reached via the website CSOMAonline.org
and via telephone 800-477-4564.
David H. Jeon, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac/CH., MSOM.
Emergency Update - September 26, 2002
HELP! CHINESE MEDICINE THREATENED IN NEW YORK
I just received some disturbing news from Glenn Smits in
New York. A Suffolk County legislator is attempting to ban the
use of all natural forms of ephedra. This includes the Chinese
herb Ma Huang. Unfortunately, this would be throwing out the
baby with the bath water.
Ephedra is used in Chinese Medicine for colds and asthma. It
not used for weight loss or energy-boosting. There are a lot of
fad-products out there sold by unethical people who want to make
a buck... I say it's unethical because Ephedra is toxic- it should
not be used in high doses or without other herbs to moderate its
toxicity. The street and fad-usage of Ephedra is an American
perversion of the traditional cultural usage of Ma Huang in China.
An analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine two years
said at least 54 deaths and about 1,000 reports of complications
have been linked to the popular supplement since the mid-1990s.
One theory is the herb, especially when combined with caffeine
exercise, overstimulates the heart.
These deaths are due to the MISUSE of the herb ephedra.
The problem is that these herbs arre not regulated sufficiently.
Only MD's and acupuncturists who are sufficiently trained (licensed
by the NCCAOM or its state equivalent) should be able to
prescribe toxic herbs like ephedra.
So the legislature is not on the wrong track- they just have
EDUCATED as to the proper medical usage of herbs like
Ephedra. And this piece of legislation is simply not well thought
What we need is better regulation while allowing those trained
medical herbalisim to continue to benefit their patients with
scope of Chinese Medicine.
Kevin Ergil (who has practiced Chinese Medicine for 22 years,
Dean of a New York acupuncture school) will be meeting this week
with the Suffolk County legislation's originator, Jon Cooper.
Ergil plans to explain to Legislator Cooper the proper and safe
usage of Ephedra.
Legislator Cooper has good motives- he wants to protect people
the improper usage of Ephedra. However, he does not realize that
Ephedra is an important Chinese Medicine that can be safely used
those with adequate training.
Please take the time to inform any acupuncturists or acupuncture
patients you know in New York state, and to write or call
Legislators Jon Cooper and Brian Foley. Their contact information
OUR GOAL is to stop the legislation before it leaves committee.
passes, then it could become a precedent for similar state-wide
legislation... and then beyond.
Help us PROTECT the integrity of Chinese Medicine.
WRITE OR CALL Jon Cooper and Brian Foley.
Brian Benjamin Carter
Editor, The Pulse of Oriental Medicine
Here is the email I received from Glenn Smits which includes
contact information and a script:
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I am writing regarding legislation that has recently been introduced
to the Suffolk County Legislature. This legislation, sponsored
by Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper would ban the sale of
all natural forms of ephedra sinensis (ma huang). This includes
the "herbal exctasy" type products as well as formulas
that we commonly use (Minor Blue Green Dragon, Ma Huang Tang etc.)
and the use of the raw substance in a formula or the powdered
substance. Clearly this is not legislation that we want to pass.
We have spoken with Mr. Cooper's office and will be meeting with
him next week. However, the Health Committee will be reviewing
the legislation on Wednesday, October 2nd. Please take a few minutes
to call or Fax Mr. Cooper's office as well as the office of Brian
Foley (the chair of the Health Committee) and voice your opposition
to this bill. In addition, please ask your patients, friends and
family to do the same. I have included a "script" with
this e-mail. Please distribute this and use it when speaking to
these gentlemen. We do not have much time so please act quickly.
If the bill does get through committee, we can still work to stop
it, but it may become a bit more difficult.
If you do contact these legislators please also send an e-mail
or fax to me with your name, address, phone number and e-mail
contact so that we may contact you again easily if further action
If you do not live in Suffolk County, but you know people who
do, please speak to them.
Finally, please forward this e-mail to anyone you know who lives/works
in Suffolk County and ask them to do the same. (Phone calls and
forwarding the e-mail).
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. It is
important that we act now to protect our ability to treat our
Please call before October 1, 2002.
Marnae C. Ergil, MA, MS, L.Ac.
Board of Directors, NY Acupuncture Coalition
Phone: (631) 549-6755
Fax: (631) 424-5323
e-mail: marnae@pobox. com
Hello. My name is ____________________________. I live in _________________
(township) in Suffolk County. I am calling to express my concern
that IB 1954, which will ban the sale of all natural forms of
ephedra sinense (ma huang) will prevent practitioners of Chinese
herbal medicine from taking care of their patients and that the
public will be denied access to a safe and legitimate form of
A: I want Jon Cooper to withdraw this legislation until he has
had time to review all of the issues and consider the needs of
patients and the public.
B: I want Legislator Brian Foley to urge the Health Committee
to table this legislation until it is better thought out and has
fully considered the needs of patients and the public.
Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper
214 E. Main Street, Suite 201
Huntington, NY 11742
Phone: (631) 854-4500
Fax: (631) 854-4503
Aide: Barbara Lomoriello:
Suffolk County Legislator Briann Foley
90 W. Main Street, Suite 2N
Patchogue, NY 11772
Phone: (631) 854-1400
Fax: (631) 854-1403
Secretary: Ellen Stitt
Join the PulseMed mailing list