Australia’s Anti-Doping Agency Sends Higenamine Warning

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued a warning regarding Higenamine, a banned substance also known as norcoclaurine HCI, reminding athletes that the ingredient is still found in supplements sold around Australia.

Higenamine, originally developed for weight management, was prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency for use in sports as a modification to the 2017 Prohibited Substances list. The substance is specifically named within the ‘non-selective beta-20 agonist’ category.

Per the ASADA, six Australian athletes have tested positive for Higenamine since November 2016, bringing the total number of positives for that substance to 13 across nine different sports.

Described by manufacturers as ‘natural’, the ASADA says that Higenamine is often listed under a different name on supplement labels, making its avoidance more difficult. It is often listed as the following:

Nandina domestica
Tinospora crispa
Aconitum japonicum
Gnetum Parvifolium
Asarum hetertropoides

To prevent a positive test, the ASADA suggests avoiding supplements all together, as no one can ‘guarantee 100% that they do not contain prohibited substances.’ If supplements are taken, the organization recommends only taking those that have been tested by an independent auditing company.

Even then, the ASADA’s website provides the disclaimer that, “because of the manufacturing processes, the contents of supplements can vary from batch-to-batch and may contain prohibited substances in sport regardless of what is listed in the label. As such, ASADA cannot give any specific supplements the all clear. ASADA does not endorse any supplements.”

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Steve Nolan

Ooh, a doping post! This is wholly unrelated to Australia, but if the rest of the commentariat wants to get real angry at Russia again, watch “Icarus” on Netflix. I think some people’s heads might explode.


I checked my preworkout supplement, this stuff is in there. It’s been sitting around for a while. I had to stop taking it because I felt like I was going to have a heart attack when I was on it.


Any idea what Maddie Groves’s status is at the moment? Why is it taking so long to get an outcome on her case?

Brad Cooper

One of my swimmers was invited to a September 7 meeting of the Australian Swimmers Association, to be convened by Maddie Groves and Daniel Kowalski. This may or may not be related to the approximate date of her penalty announcement, as no firm agenda or reason was given. I’m hoping the ASA won’t use the occasion to drag members into Groves’ case, because those members will have had no chance to consider the issues. Groves and Kowalski could avoid speculation by following normal meeting procedure of issuing an agenda. I don’t want my swimmer pressured into a vote without prior warning. The ASA should be trying to win a better slice of the funding pie for swimmers instead of convening… Read more »

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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