classification of drugs >>> amphetamines >>>
More than 5000 years ago in China the properties of the herb “huang” were well known. Today this herb is more familiar as Ephedra sinica; the Chinese gave the legendary emperor Shen Nun the credit for the discovery of the plant’s properties. Different sorts of Ephedra sinica grow all over Eurasia. It is found also in Bulgaria, but there it is poor in alkaloids. Ephedra sinica has been used not only as a medicine; the ancient Iraqis prepared the holy beverage “haoma” from it – analogy of the Indian “soma”. The alkaloid ephedrine was detached from Ephedra sinica al the end of the previous century. Its effect resembles strongly the one of nor-adrenaline, which was used for medication of asthma at that time. The ephedrine replaced it quickly, because its effects last longer, it’s more stable and it can be taken in the form of tablets. This substance is still used successfully for respiratory diseases and because it has observable stimulant properties to be used as doping. Many sportsmen, who have taken ephedrine as a medicine, have problems with the doping-control.
A stimulant, which is not very famous outside its range of spreading, is the so-called “khat” or “quat”. This name is referred to both the tree-shape plant “Catha edulis” and in Yemen, Ethiopia and recently also in the whole East Africa. The “quat” was used in Yemen before the coffee and it is still extremely poplar; except there, it is also found in large quantities in the Ethiopian province Hassar, from where it is exported to the neighboring countries. The traditional use of “khat” lies in chewing the leaves and the buds of the plant, but it is considered that they have an effect only few days after they have been picked. According to one conducted research over 80% of the adult people in Yemen chew regularly “quat”.
The most popular among all amphetamines, as it can be expected, is the very amphetamine.
The first wide use of amphetamine as a stimulant was during World War II in the armies of Germany, USA and Great Britain. It was usually given to the pilots for their night flights. Chocolate with amphetamine was served to the German soldiers just before an attack. The Japanese gave it even to the workers in the industry with the slogan: “Get rid of drowsiness and cheer the spirits up”. As a stimulant, amphetamine has considerable advantages over cocaine. Its effect is several times longer and its effectiveness is high, when absorbed orally. Unlike the difficult access of cocaine during the war, the synthesis of amphetamine is extremely simple and cheap.
The amphetamine is an oil-like whitish liquid with an unpleasant odor but in the practice, it is more often used the crystal amphetamine-sulfate, which is easily soluble in water.