ephedra

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Related to ma huang: ephedra, ephedrine

ephedra:

see ephedrineephedrine
, drug derived from plants of the genus Ephedra (see Pinophyta), most commonly used to prevent mild or moderate attacks of bronchial asthma. Unlike epinephrine, to which it is chemically similar, ephedrine is slow to take effect and of mild potency and long
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ephedra

ephedra

*Banned in the U.S. (There is a weaker version of the plant called Mormon Tea. See the Desert section). Thin leafless, jointed stick like stalks (red berries in summer). Ephedra is a very effective decongestant herb that has been banned in some countries because of side effects and some deaths resulting from overuse of the synthetic isolate ephedrine. These side effects are not as prevalent when taking the whole plant in its natural state. The ephedra plant has been used for 5000 years for treating asthma, hay fever, lung and breathing problems, congestion, and as a performance enhancer in sports. The pharmaceutical isolate ephedrine raises blood pressure, but the whole plant contains other alkaloids that prevent blood pressure from rising. It’s a stimulant who’s main active constituents are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine,which stimulate brain and increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels, increase metabolism and body heat (weight loss), while expanding bronchials in lungs, making breathing easier. Used for colds and flu, promotes sweating. Side effects from taking too much may include anxiety, nervousness, headache, insomnia, trembling, sweating, dehydration, seizures or worse. If taken correctly, it has made people breath better and relax because of its ability to stop asthma attacks. I was given it as an asthmatic child and worked wonders. Like anything, it’s about proper usage, not abuse. I am not prescribing here, just informing historical data :-)
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ephedra

 

a genus of gymnospermous plants of the family Ephedraceae. The plants are mostly low, strongly branched shrubs (sometimes lianoid) and small trees reaching 8 m in height. The shoots are virgate and segmented. The opposite leaves are small and usually reduced; the function of photosynthesis is taken over by the young branches. The strobili are unisexual. The staminate ones consist of an axis with two to eight pairs of bracts, whose axils bear microstrobili. The pistillate strobili consist of a seed embryo enclosed by a saclike cover.

There are more than 40 species, occurring in Eurasia, North Africa, and North and South America. They are found primarily in steppe, desert, and mountain regions. The USSR has about 15 species, occurring mainly in Middle Asia. E. equisetina and other species contain the alkaloid ephedrine, which is used in medicine. The branches of E. distachya are a popular remedy for rheumatism and other diseases; sheep are sometimes poisoned by the green branches of the species. The succulent seeds of some species are edible.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ephedra

[ə′fed·rə]
(botany)
A genus of low, leafless, green-stemmed shrubs belonging to the order Ephedrales; source of the drug ephedrine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Of concern are the supplements containing Ma Huang or Ephedra, which is a naturally occurring form of the drug Ephedrine.
Ephedra and its alkaloids, derived from the plant Ma Huang, are central nervous system stimulants.
nevadensis): American Ephedra is similar to the very controversial ma huang, but doesn't contain the same speed-related chemicals as its Chinese cousin.
Background: Dietary supplements that contain ephedra alkaloids (sometimes called ma huang) are widely promoted and used in the United States as a means of losing weight and increasing energy.
In total, the trainer has her taking 11 different substances daily, including ephedra (ma huang), yohimbe, phenylalanine, guarana, and willow bark.
The amphetamine-like substance, which is derived from the Chinese herb ephedra (ma huang), is found in weight-loss supplements like Diet Fuel and Metabolife.
There have been 3 dozen deaths attributed to products containing ephedra, also known as ma huang, and over 800 reports of adverse reactions.
A Chinese herb called Ma Huang can increase your energy level, improve your sex life, and lessen asthma symptoms, according to alternative medicine advocates.
Three years ago, Hay and his wife Wendy were targeting fatties with a wonder drug that contained the banned substance Ma Huang.
Its herbal form is known as ma huang, ephedra or "the American desert herb."
No wonder ephedrine (and the herb, ma huang) is one of the hottest supplements on the market today.