Herbs & Plants

Ephedra torreyana

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Botanical Name :Ephedra torreyana
Family: Ephedraceae
Genus: Ephedra
Species: E. torreyana
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Ephedrales

Common Name :Ephedra, Torrey

Habitat :Ephedra torreyana is native to south-western N. America – Arizona and Colorado south to New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.
It grows in  dry gravelly or sandy plains, hills and canyons, 900 – 1800 metres in New Mexico. Dry rocky to sandy areas; 500–2000 m

Ephedra torreyana is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :
Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown in fruit and seed are required.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter. Division in spring or autumn. Layering.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Tea.

An excellent tea is made by boiling the stems for a few minutes and allowing the brew to steep. Fruit – raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Kidney; Pectoral; Salve; Stomachic; VD.

This plant has a wide reputation as a cure for syphilis. A decoction of the stems is used, this decoction is also used in treating coughs, bladder and kidney problems and stomach disorders. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a lotion on itchy skin. The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents – unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, though they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, though older stems can be used if a tea is made. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.

In some areas of the southwest this species is preferred as a diuretic to the greener species (Ephedra viridis and E. trifurca). Native tribes of the southwest used it for a variety of ailments. The Pima made a decoction from stems and used as an antiluetic (anti-syphilitic). The Mescalero Apache made a decoction from the entire plant and used as an antiblenorrhagic. Spanish New Mexicans made a decoction and used it to reduce fever and to relieve kidney pain.  The recipe is: boil a handful of the plant in a quart of water, then strain through a cloth. Drink one glass of this tea (hot) at least three times a day, about 1 hour before meals. When the pain is gone, one must eat a chopped red onion three times before meals for approximately 6 to 8 days. A decoction of the stems is used, in treating coughs, bladder and kidney problems and stomach disorders. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a lotion on itchy skin.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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