Latin: Ephedra Gerardiana

Therapeutic Action:

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[238]. Ephedrine acts promptly to reduce swellings of the mucous membranes and has antispasmodic properties, thus making it valuable in the treatment of asthma[4]. This species contains between 0.28 and 2.79 alkaloids[240]. 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[254]. The plant also has antiviral effects, particularly against influenza[238]. The stems are a pungent, bitter, warm herb that dilates the bronchial vessels whilst stimulating the heart and central nervous system[238]. The stems are also diaphoretic. diuretic and vasodilator[4, 61, 165, 238]. They are used internally in the treatment of asthma, hay fever and allergic complaints[238]. They are also combined with a number of other herbs and used in treating a wide range of complaints238]. This herb should be used with great caution, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238]. It should not be prescribed to patients who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or glaucoma[238]. Ephedrine is seen as a performance-boosting herb and, as such, is a forbidden substance in many sporting events such as athletics[K]. The stems are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency[241]. Febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary, they are used in the treatment of severe bleeding and chronic fevers[241]. A decoction of the stems and roots is used in Russia to treat rheumatism and syphilis[243]. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use[238]. The juice of the berries is used to treat respiratory affections[243].


  • Nadkarni, Vol I, Pages 1086- 1087
  • Paranjape Pages 250- 251
  • Leung & Foster. Pages 451-452
  • Nadkarni, Vol I, P 1081-1082
  • Dukes. P 417-418

Used in:

  • Fluton Plus Capsule
  • Kufrex Syrup

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