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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

Description:
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.

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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.

Propagation:
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

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Ephedra+torreyana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_torreyana
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_torreyana

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Ephedra (genus)

Botanical Name :Ephedra distachya
Family: Ephedraceae
Genus: Ephedra
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Ephedrales
Common Names: Joint-pine, Jointfir, Mormon-tea or Brigham Tea. Mormon-tea,, cañatilla, popotillo, tepopote (Stevenson 1993), Sea Grape

The Chinese name is , má huáng (Fu et al. 1999)., which means “yellow hemp”. Ephedra is also sometimes called sea grape (from the French raisin de mer), although that is also a common name for Coccoloba uvifera.

Habitat :
Semiarid and arid areas in North America, Mexico, South America  south to Patagonia. , Europe, Asia, and N and E Africa (including Canary Islands) (Stevenson 1993, Fu et al. 1999).

The 35 species in this treatment are distributed as follows:

Their habitats are all described as dry, rocky and/or sandy. A few species occur in grasslands, and for a few species, habitat is not specified.

One species occurs in Argentina and Chile, from Tierra del Fuego to 42° S.

Two species occur in North Africa, one of which also occurs in SW Asia (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel) and Cyprus.

Twelve species are in the USA (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Wyoming) of which 5 species also occur in Mexico (Baja California Norte, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora).

The remaining 21 species are Eurasian, with focal areas in central Asia (18 species) and around the Mediterreanean (4 species, plus the North African ones). These break out according to country as follows:

•China: 14 species (in Gansu, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, and Yunnan)
•Pakistan: 9 species
•Kazakhstan and Mongolia: 8 species each
•Afghanistan: 7 species
•Tajikistan: 6 species
•Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan: 4 species each
•Greece, India, Iran, Nepal, Sikkim, Turkmenistan: 2 species each
•Armenia, Bhutan, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Turkey, Ukraine: 1 species each
The New World species mostly occur at elevations of below 2000 m, with a few species reaching as high as 2300 m. The Eurasian species show a much greater elevation range, from sea level to 5300 m (E. gerardiana, the highest gymnosperm species). E. intermedia probably has the greatest elevational range of any single gymnosperm species, ranging from 100 to 4600 m elevation across its vast range.

It grows on the semi-desert and desert regions and on gritty slopes on the Russian steppes. Grasslands, sandy places and rocky mountain slopes below 900 metres in China.


Description:

Shrubs or vines, dioecious (rarely monoecious), with erect, procumbent or climbing stems,  growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). Branches jointed, much branched, photosynthetic, yellowish green to olive-green when young. Branchlets opposite or whorled, green, terete, longitudinally grooved. Leaves opposite or in whorls of 3, scalelike, generally ephemeral, mostly not photosynthetic; resin canals absent. Cotyledons 2. Cones terminal or axillary, ovoid to elliptic. Pollen cones solitary or clustered at nodes, each composed of 2-8 descussate pairs or 3-part whorls of membranous bracts, proximal bracts empty; each distal bract subtending a male flower composed of 2 basally fused, orbicular or obovate scales (false perianth); anthers sessile or stipitate on staminal column. Seed cones opposite or in whorls of 3 or 4 at nodes, each cone composed of overlapping bracts; bracts arranged in 2-10 decussate pairs or whorls of 3, red and fleshy at maturity (rarely brown and membranous), proximal bracts empty, most distal bracts subtending an axillary female flower composed of a pair of fused, leathery scales (false perianth) enclosing ovule with a single membranous integument prolonged into a slender, tubular micropyle. Seeds 1-3 per cone, ellipsoid to globose, yellow to dark brown, smooth to scabrous or furrowed (Stevenson 1993, Fu et al. 1999).

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Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. This species does not flower or fruit well in Britai. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
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 :  Fruit  is eaten raw. A sweet but rather insipid flavour. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses:

Plants of the Ephedra genus, including E. sinica and others, have traditionally been used by indigenous people for a variety of medicinal purposes, including treatment of asthma, hay fever, and the common cold. They have also been proposed as a candidate for the Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion. The alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are active constituents of E. sinica and other members of the genus. These compounds are sympathomimetics with stimulant and decongestant qualities and are related chemically to the amphetamines. Ephedra nevadensis contains ephedrine in its roots, stems and branches. Ephedra distachya contains up to 3% ephedrine in the entire plant. Ephedra sinica contains approximately 2.2% ephedrine.

Members of this genus contain various medicinally active alkaloids (but notably ephedrine) and they are widely used in preparations for the treatment of asthma and catarrh. 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. The plant also has antiviral effects, particularly against influenza. Ephedrine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system dilating the coronary vessels. It has a powerful and rapid antiallergic action. Indicated to combat coughs, asthma, hay fever, nettle-rash, some edema and eczema conditions. A tincture and an extract are used. It is used to relieve acute muscular and rheumatic pains (when it is called teamsters’ tea), as a stimulant, and in the cardio tonics in Ayurveda. It is sometimes identified with the legendary drug soma, as described in the Avesta and the Rig Veda, the respective ancient sacred texts of the Zoroastrian and Hindu faiths. Valued in Chinese medicine almost as much as Ephedra sinica. The branches and root are used in Siberia as a remedy in gout and syphilis.
The stems are a pungent, bitter, warm herb that dilates the bronchial vessels while stimulating the heart and central nervous system. They are used internally in the treatment of asthma, hay fever and allergic complaints. They are also combined with a number of other herbs and used in treating a wide range of complaints.

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Discussions on Ephedra (genus)

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.

Resources:
http://www.conifers.org/ep/ep/index.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_sinica

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ephedra+distachya

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Herbs & Plants

Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica)

Botanical Name: Ephedra sinica
Family: Ephedraceae
Genus: Ephedra
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Ephedrales
Common Names: Ephedra, Ma Huang,Joint-pine, Jointfir, Mormon-tea or Brigham Tea.
The Chinese name is má huáng, which means “yellow hemp”. Ephedra is also sometimes called sea grape (from the French raisin de mer), although that is also a common name for Coccoloba uvifera.

Ephedra sinica Stapf. Engl.: Chinese ephedra, Chinese joint-fir. Suom.: efedra. Sven.: efedra. TCM: ma huang, cao ma huang

Habitat :These plants occur in dry climates over a wide area mainly in the northern hemisphere, across southern Europe, north Africa, southwest and central Asia, southwestern North America, and, in the southern hemisphere, in South America south to Patagonia.

Description: Ephedra is a shrublike plant found in desert regions throughout the world. It is distributed from northern China to Inner Mongolia. The dried green stems of the three Asian species (E. sinica, intermedia, equisetina) are the plant parts employed medicinally. The North American species of ephedra does not appear to contain the active ingredients of its Asian counterparts. The plants are 1.5 to 4 foot high. They typically grow on dry, rocky, or sandy slopes. The many slender, yellow green branches of ephedra have two very small leaf scales at each node. The mature, double seeded cones are visible in the fall.

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Species
Ephedra alata Decne
Ephedra altissima Desf.
Ephedra americana Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.
Ephedra antisyphilitica Berl. ex C.A.Meyer – Clapweed, Erect Ephedra
Ephedra aspera Engelm. ex S.Wats. – Boundary Ephedra, Pitamoreal
Ephedra boelckei F.A.Roig
Ephedra californica S.Wats. – California Ephedra, California Jointfir
Ephedra campylopoda C. A. Mey.
Ephedra chilensis C. Presl
Ephedra ciliata Fisch. ex C. A. Mey.
Ephedra coryi E.L.Reed – Cory’s Ephedra
Ephedra cutleri Peebles – Navajo Ephedra, Cutler’s Ephedra, Cutler Mormon-tea, Cutler’s Jointfir
Ephedra dahurica Turcz.
Ephedra distachya L. – Joint-pine, Jointfir
Ephedra distachya L. subsp. distachya
Ephedra distachya subsp. helvetica (C.A.Meyer) Aschers. & Graebn.
Ephedra distachya L. subsp. monostachya (L.) Riedl
Ephedra equisetina Bunge – Ma huang
Ephedra fasciculata A.Nels. – Arizona Ephedra, Arizona Jointfir, Desert Mormon-tea Photo
Ephedra fedtschenkoae Pauls.
Ephedra foliata Boiss. ex C.A.Mey.
Ephedra fragilis Desf.
Ephedra fragilis subsp. campylopoda (C.A.Meyer) Aschers. & Graebn.
Ephedra frustillata Miers – Patagonian Ephedra
Ephedra funerea Coville & Morton – Death Valley Ephedra, Death Valley Jointfir
Ephedra gerardiana Wallich ex C.A.Meyer – Gerard’s Jointfir, Shan Ling Ma Huang
Ephedra holoptera Riedl
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk ex C.A.Meyer
Ephedra lepidosperma C.Y.Cheng

Ephedra distachyaEphedra likiangensis Florin
Ephedra lomatolepis Shrenk
Ephedra macedonica Kos.
Ephedra major Host
Ephedra major subsp. procera Fischer & C.A.Meyer
Ephedra minuta Florin
Ephedra monosperma C.A.Meyer
Ephedra multiflora Phil. ex Stapf
Ephedra nevadensis S.Wats. – Nevada Ephedra, Nevada Jointfir, Nevada Mormon-tea
Ephedra pachyclada Boiss.
Ephedra pedunculata Engelm. ex S.Wats. – Vine Ephedra, Vine Jointfir
Ephedra procera Fisch. & C. A. Mey.
Ephedra przewalskii Stapf
Ephedra przewalskii var. kaschgarica (B.Fedtsch. & Bobr.) C.Y.Cheng
Ephedra regeliana Florin – Xi Zi Ma Huang
Ephedra saxatilis (Stapf) Royle ex Florin
Ephedra sinica Stapf – Cao Ma Huang, Chinese ephedra
Ephedra strobilacea Bunge
Ephedra torreyana S.Wats. – Torrey’s Ephedra, Torrey’s Jointfir, Torrey’s Mormon-tea, Cañutillo
Ephedra trifurca Torrey ex S.Wats. – Longleaf Ephedra, Longleaf Jointfir, Longleaf Mormon-tea, Popotilla, Teposote
Ephedra viridis Coville – Green Ephedra, Green Mormon-tea

Active Compounds:
Ephedra’s active medicinal ingredients are the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. The stem contains 1-3% total alkaloids, with ephedrine accounting for 30-90% of this total, depending on the plant species employed. Both ephedrine and its synthetic counterparts stimulate the central nervous system, dilate the bronchial tubes, elevate blood pressure, and increase heart rate. Pseudoephedrine (the synthetic form) is a popular over-the-counter remedy for relief of nasal congestion.

Biochemistry and pharmacology
The alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are the active constituents of the plant. Pseudoephedrine is used in over-the-counter decongestants. Derivatives of ephedrine are used to treat low blood pressure, but alternatives with reduced cardiovascular risk have replaced it for treating asthma. Ephedrine is also considered a performance-enhancing drug and is prohibited in most competitive sports. Some species in the Ephedra genus have no alkaloid content; however, the most commonly used species, E. sinica, has a total alkaloid content of 1–3% by dry weight. Ephedrine constitutes 40–90% of the alkaloid content, with the remainder consisting of pseudoephedrine and the demethylated forms of each compound.

Medical uses:
Plants of the Ephedra genus, including E. sinica and others, have traditionally been used by indigenous people for a variety of medicinal purposes, including treatment of asthma, hay fever, and the common cold. They have also been proposed as a candidate for the Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion. The alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are active constituents of E. sinica and other members of the genus. These compounds are sympathomimetics with stimulant and decongestant qualities and are related chemically to the amphetamines. Ephedra nevadensis contains ephedrine in its roots, stems and branches. Ephedra distachya contains up to 3% ephedrine in the entire plant. Ephedra sinica contains approximately 2.2% ephedrine.

The stems of the ephedra plant can be brewed into a pungent, bitter, herb tea that dilates the bronchial vessels while stimulating the heart and central nervous system.

The active chemical components of ephedra, or ma huang, the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudo ephedrine, are found in over the counter allergy and cold medications as over-the-counter decongestants. . An internal review of FDA records between 1969 and September 2006 found 54 reports of deaths in children associated with decongestant medicines containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine or ephedrine, prompting the recent recall of these medications in children’s cold care products.

The phytochemical ephedrine possesses properties similar to adrenaline that serves a critical role in our system as a neurotransmitter and a modulator of our metabolic rate. This powerful stimulant action is the major reason why it is so dangerous when misused. Ephedra has fallen into disfavor because of its misuse in the west as a diet drug. A handful of people have died over the last few years prompting the FDA to ban its use.

Herbalists, however, use the whole plant which contains six other related alkaloids, one of which, pseudoephedrine, actually reduces the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This plant has been used in China for thousands of years, yet no undesirable side-effects have been recorded from the proper administration of the whole plant. Mabey, Richard ,48 Those wishing to use the whole herb to treat allergies and asthma can still buy bulk ephedra from reputable whole herb sources such as Mountain Rose, however it is recommended that it be used under only under supervision of a qualified herbalist.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ma Huang has a 5,000 year history of use in Chinese medicine as an asthma treatment and is traditionally prescribed in TCM as an effective treatment of hay fever, edema, arthritis, colds, asthma, bronchitis and hives.

Weight Loss Aid: Ephedrine suppresses the appetite and increases the metabolic rate of adipose tissue. Ephedrine activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the metabolic rate and increasing the amount of the food converted to heat (thermogenesis). This prevents the body from converting these foods to fat, thus helping in the control of weight gain by those who have low metabolism.

Ephedrine is often used in conjunction with methylxanthine sources such as coffee, tea, cola nut, and guarana. The methylxanthines enhances the thermogenic effect of ephedrine. Clinical studies have also shown that aspirin may be effective in increasing the thermogenic effect of ephedrine.


Side Effects:

The herb and its extracts are potentially addictive, and can disrupt regular heart rhythm, induce cardiac arrest, and raise blood pressure. They are very likely to make you sweat profusely, become irritable, nervous, nauseous and cause insomnia.

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.

Resources:
http://www.holisticonline.com/herbal-med/_herbs/h53.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_sinica
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail298.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra