A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z

Biological Name: Ephedra trifurca, Ephedra distacha, Ephedra equisetina, Ephedra intermedia, Ephedra sinicaEphedra

Other Names: Ephedra, Mahuang, American ephedra, Pakistani ephedra, Ma Huang, European ephedra, desert tea, Chinese ephedra, Mormon tea

Active Components: Ephedra is considered medically potent due to high alkaloid concentration in it. The two alkaloids found in the plant are pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. The latter one accounts for 30 to 90 percent of total amount, which depends on the herb species utilised. The overall concentration of alkaloids in stem is 2 percent on average. Ephedrine and its chemical variations are known to produce a stimulative effect on the nervous system, increase arterial tension and pulse. Pseudoephedrine (one of its chemical variations) is a non-prescription remedy for the cold-in-the-head.

History: Ephedra has been applied by Chinese health-care specialists for nearly five thousand years. Shen Nong has pointed the plant out in his herbal medicine listings. Conventionally, Ephedra is applied for treating bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory system conditions, water retaining. It also induces excessive sweating. Coughs, fevers and other symptoms associated with colds and various respiratory infections are referred to as cases of its application. Still the active component was determined in 1887, the plant managed to gain popularity only in 1924; and since has actively been used by American doctors due to its positive effect on the respiratory system.

Used For: The plant is applied to purify bronchi, stimulate fluid circulation in the organism (acts both as a diuretic and a diaphoretic), to decrease fever, and thus used under condition of bronchitis, asthma, edema, and colds.

When applied as a treatment for asthma and fever, the plant is preferably applied together with expectorative remedies of herbal origin. Stimulating mucus excretion, these plants are able to enhance the effect posed by ephedra. The list of suggested expectorants includes: senega, sundew, euphorbia, grindelia and licorice.

Additionally, the herb should be aided by herbal medicines which provide adrenal gland functionality, like pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, and panax ginseng.

The plant is also used as a supplement by those who are on a slimming diet. Ephedrine is known for its capacity to decrease appetite and enhance the metabolism of lipids. The substance influences the sympathetic nerves, boosting one’s metabolism and doubling the quantity of nutrients tranferred into energy. Consequently, less of the food one consumes turns into fats, due to which reason it’s possible to either reduce weight or stop its gradual gain.

Commonly mixed with: Methylxanthine-containing drinks like tea, coffee, guarana, and cola nut are commonly combined with ephedrine to increase its thermogenic capacity. According to scientific researches one more remedy potent of enhancing its is aspirin.

Additional Info: Ephedra grows in form of a bush and is commonly met in desert areas. The plant is spread from Mongolia to the north of China. Asian species are considered medically potent, and their dry stems are applied in remedies. American species are different from Asian ones, and have no medical potency, or little of it. The stems are commonly 3 feet high on average.

Preparation and intake: Dried ephedra stems turned into powder (with ephedrine concentration of 1 percent) are used in a daily dosage of 3 grams on average. In this case the plant is taken in form of tea.

When it comes to a tincture, 3 ml on average may be used on a daily basis.

Non-prescription remedies which include ephedrine are applied in a dosage of 20 mg on average, with an interval of four hours. 150 mg is a maximal recommended dose for adults.

Pseudoephedrine is applied in a dose of 60 mg with an interval of 6 hours.

Safety: Ephedra is not recommended to use in case of sudden sweating flashes. Due to stimulative alkaloid origin, identical to adrenaline, ephedra is not suggested to use in case of insomnia and hypertension.

The safety level of ephedra is checked by centuries. Still, in cases of overdose, the medicine can cause side effects identical to amphetamine, like high blood tension, insomnia, muscle tension, nervous condition, and fatality.

People who suffer from glaucoma, heart diseases, elevated arterial tension, diabetes, thyroid disorders, should have a recommendation from a health-care provider, before applying the herb, as well as those who use MAO-inhibitors (class of medicines for depression).

Due to the fact the pseudoephedrine may lead to sleepiness, ephedra is not recommended to use when driving a car. Ephedra is not recommended to use when nursing or being pregnant. You should also be careful when giving it to children up to 6 years of age.

According to FDA recommendations, ephedra should not be mixed with alternative stimulative remedies, or used for a period of more than a week. This fact is argued by other health institutions, but FDA is nevertheless cautious in prescribing the herb.

There are some side effects ephedra can produce when taken as a stimulative remedy. These are high arterial tension, increased pulse, vomiting, anxiety, strokes, and heart attacks. There are some registered cases if fatality.

Due to the fact that ephedra overdose can lead to serious condition and even death, the herb is not recommended to use without doctor supervision. Some producers have an ill fame of adding unpurified ephedra to their products, for which reason their medicines can cause an unexpected effect. Be careful when using ephedra. Caffeine is not suggested to use in combination with the herb.