[ Ephedrine Hydrochloride ] - Ephedrine was a legal drug that was useful for people with asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic fatigue syndrome (abnormal deep inflammation), attention deficit, depression, allergies, bad colds, and other conditions. (For example, as a nasal decongestant, or to treat bed wetting in children.)
It was no more dangerous than aspirin or caffeine. However, because it was a naturally occurring substance, and because it competed with products of large drug companies, it was outlawed in the United States in 2004. The justification for this move by the FDA and other United States Federal bodies was that "ephedrine" was being misused in the production of amphetamines (actually, pseudo-ephedrine), and that its use in "diet aid" products had caused death (VERY rare, but with one high-visibility case of a baseball player who was, in fact, on multiple drugs ).
Note: Ephedra Ephedra is a broncho-dilator that herbalists value as a natural and effective alternative to asthma and allergy drugs. And no, you can't make meth from the herb. As widely reported, the artificially synthesized Pseudo-ephedrine hydrochloride -- used as over-the-counter nasal decongestant medicine-- was used in some "meth recipies".
 Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler's death in 2003 was widely reported to be linked to use of an supplement containing "ephedrine".
However, note also that millions of people had by that point (and later) used "ephedrine-containing supplements" on a regular basis and did not die.)