Ephedra plant by definition is a kind of shrub that natively grows in northwestern India, China, and Pakistan. There are also some of the plant species which grow in the United States the Southwest desert. The plant grows perennially to about one foot high with others growing taller to 4 feet. It is leafless featuring yellow-green, slender and cylindrical branches with underground runners. During August, the plant bears fleshy, poisonous and red cones which resemble berries. The plant is of three species which are

  • ephedra intermedia,
  • Ephedra equisetina
  • and ephedra Sinica all called ma huang in Chinese.

The herb has been used for 5000 years plus in TCM mostly for treating conditions such as hay fever, bronchitis, and asthma. The plant as well has been prescribed to treat symptoms of flu and cold such as chills, fever, cough and nasal congestion. The main ingredient of the ephedra plant is ephedrine which is used for medication.

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Uses of ephedra plant

Ephedra plant is mainly used for treatment purposes, and its used parts are the branchlets and young stems which prepare medications. Medicinally, the plant is used for treating conditions such as:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinusitis
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Bronchitis
  • A cough
  • Asthma

The forms available which you can use are liquid form and dried form. The medicine can then be consumed as tea, capsule or tablet. Ephedra is only prescribed to be used for short periods as prolonged use could result in addiction. However, the safe period is not definite, and its consumption should only be done under the supervision and guidance of a trained specialist. The plant as well should be used with no food in between meals.

Extraction of ephedra plant

The ma huang plant is extracted to get ephedrine which is the component then used for preparing medicines. The component ephedrine is used to relief temporarily wheezing, and chest tightness hence recommended for asthma treatment.

The plant component is extracted in several ways. Some of the most popular ways of extraction are through the use of methanol, diethylamine and CO2 mixture.

Ephedra plant species

Classification of ephedra plant

The ephedra plant is classified into

  • Eukarya domain,
  • kingdom Plantae,
  • Gnetophyta phylum,
  • Gnetopsida class,
  • Ephedrales order,
  • Ephedraceae family
  • and Genus Ephedra.

Domain:

  • Eukarya domain consists of organisms with cells containing a true nucleus.
  • That nucleus plus other Eukarhoytic cells organelles are bound by the membrane.

Kingdom:

  • Kingdom Plantae organisms have cells whose walls contain cellulose.
  • The cells as well are organized to form true tissues.

Phylum:

  • Gnetophyta phylum categorized as vascular seed plants with the entire phylum comprising of vines, shrubs or trees.
  • The plats in this phylum are known for growing in areas which are warm.

Morphology of ephedra plant

  • The body of the plant is sporophytic with xerophytic characters with many of the plants being woody. The body of the plant can be distinguished in three parts which are leaves, stem, and root.

Leaves

  • The leaves are scaly, small featuring in pairs at the plant’s nodes arranged oppositely in a decussate manner. The leaves converge at the plant’s base forming the basal sheath.
  • Every leaf has two parallel, un-branched veins.
  • The veins are too small such that they cannot vein perform photosynthesis and hence the stem carries out the function.

 Stem

  • Just like Equisetum, its branch is fluted, branched, ribbed, and green then divided into internodes and nodes.
  • The stem does photosynthesis which could be known as phylloclade.
  • Its branches arise from axillary buds hence are paired as per scaly leaves numbers at nodes for various species.

Root

  • The plant features an underground prominent tap root system which later develops to adventitious roots. The roots contain many hairs with no mycorrhiza.

Ephedra plant for sale

The ephedra plant is available for sale in its seeds form. The seeds are sold to those interested in growing the herb. While buying the seeds and especially from only sites, it is important to consider several aspects to ensure originality and such factors include reviews and comments from genuine users and also the reputation of the site. Just like any other online purchase, care needs be taken not to fall for fake goods.

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Plants that contain ephedrine

Ephedrine generally is extracted from ephedra plant species. Raw materials used to manufacture ephedrine plus the traditional medicines in Chinese are China productions done in large scale. Other plants which contain ephedrine are all the plants classified under the genus Ephedra.

Ephedra plant in Hindi

In Hindi, ephedra plant is a Himalayan dwarf shrub which grows in places of high altitudes going to 5200 meters. The plant which resembles horse-tail is, however, a gymnosperm as well has relation with conifers. The plant in Hindi is used for medicinal purposes, and the plant’s juice from the red fleshy berries is what makes ephedrine herb used for treating asthma.

How to grow ephedra plant

This gene requires several conditions for it to thrive well. Some of the key conditions which the plant requires most include:

  • Loamy soil is well-drained and a position with a sunny condition.
  • The plant is known to be resistant to drought as well as lime tolerant.

While planting the seeds:

  • Cover the seeds barely in quite loose, airy, damp soil
  • Make use of humidity dome
  • Ensure that the environment remains warm and humid
  • Place it in a place with full to filtered and bright area

Ephedra plant seeds

  • Ephedra plant seeds also called ma huang are very important TCM herb which is characterized of similar characteristics with coffee though with more strong effects.
  • The seeds are the ones planted to grow into the ephedra plant.
  • The seeds do not contain them as much active ingredient which can be bothersome when it comes to its consumption.
  • The seeds are sold for purchase if interested in planting the herb.

Conclusion

Ephedra herb is a plant which has been used for many years mainly for treatment purposes. Its main and active ingredients pseudoephedrine and ephedrine alkaloids are what are medicinal. The plant treats conditions ranging from common cold to hay fever to asthma. The components contain decongestant and stimulant qualities.