Monday, February 23, 2009

Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C. A. Mey.

Family : Ephedraceae

Origin : West Asia

An evergreen shrub up to 1 m tall, densely branched, erect to spreading or sometimes with a creeping stem producing single, erect, green primary branches. Branchlets yellowish or bluish green, often pruinose, internodes usually 2-6 cm × 1.5-3.5 mm, straight or slightly bent. Leaves in whorls of 3 or opposite, connate for at least 2/3 their length. Pollen cones up to 8, whorled, usually clustered at nodes, often sessile; bracts in 3 or 4 pairs or whorls; anthers 5-8, sessile or shortly stipitate; staminate column slightly exserted. Seed cones ellipsoid, ovoid, or oblong-ovoid; bracts in 2-5 pairs or whorls, outer ones connate at base, apical pair or whorl connate for ca. 1/2 their length, margins membranous, globose, red, and fleshy at maturity; integument tube long, 3-5 mm, usually spirally twisted. Berry ovoid, red. Seeds 2 or 3, ovoid or elongate-ovoid, 5-6 × ca. 3 mm, brownish, concealed by bracts.

Found at (100-)800-4600 m elevation in grasslands, deserts, river valleys, floodplains, sandy beaches, cliffs, and other dry, sandy or rocky places.

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.

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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