Monday, February 23, 2009

Ephedra equisetina Bunge

English Name : Mongolian ephedra

Family : Ephedraceae

Origin : E. Asia - N. China.

Shrubs, up to 1(-1.5) m tall, erect or partially procumbent, with thick, well developed woody stems. Herbaceous branchlets straight, long, slender, blue-green or gray-green with a powdery bloom, 1-1.5 mm in diameter, rigid, internodes short, 1-3 cm × 1-1.5 mm, finely furrowed. Leaves opposite, brownish, 1.5-3 mm long, connate for ca. 3/4 their length, free part bluntly triangular. Pollen cones solitary or in clusters of 3 or 4 at nodes, sessile or shortly pedunculate; bracts in 3 or 4 pairs, connate for ca. 1/3 their length; staminal column slightly exserted, with 6-8 sessile anthers. Seed cones usually opposite at nodes, shortly pedunculate, elongate-ovoid or ovoid at maturity, 8-10 × 4-5 mm; bracts in 3 pairs, apical pair connate for ca. 2/3 their length, red and fleshy at maturity; integument tube to 2 mm, straight or slightly curved, slightly exserted. Seeds usually 1, elongate-ovoid, 5-7 × 2.5-3 mm.

Mountains in central and middle Asia. Dry and rocky places, 800 - 3000 metres in China.

Parts Used : Whole plant, stem and root

Herb Effects
Antispasmodic and antiviral (whole plant); antidote, diaphoretic, diuretic, vasoconstrictor and vasodilator (stem); antihydrotic (root).

Medicinal Use
The whole plant acts promptly to reduce swellings of the mucous membranes and is valuable in the treatment of asthma. It is also used against influenza. The stems dilates the bronchial vessels whilst stimulating the heart and central nervous system. They are used internally in the treatment of chills, fever, headache, stuffy nose, anhidrosis with a floating, tense pulse, asthma, cough, dyspnea, edema with fever, deep pulse and cold, hay fever and allergic complaints. The root lowers blood pressure and dilates the peripheral blood vessels. It is used in the treatment of night sweating and spontaneous sweating.

1.5–9 g stem, decocted in water for internal use. To promote diaphoresis and induce diuresis, Herba Ephedrae is usually used unprepared; for relieving cough and dyspnea, it is stir-baked.

Should not be prescribed to patients who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or glaucoma.


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