Wall. ex Stapf.
Family ► Ephedraceae.
Habitat ► The drier regions of the temperate and alpine Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim from 2,350 to 5,350 m.
English ► Ephedra (Ephedra sinica Stapf.)
Ayurvedic ► Soma, Soma-valli (substitute).
Folk ► Asmaaniyaa, Budaagur (Punjab); Tipat, Traani (Himalayan region).
Action ► Circulatory stimulant, bron-chodilator, vasodilator, antiallergic, antiasthmatic (usualy given with expectorants), diaphoretic. Not prescribed with antidepressants.
Key application ► Ephedra sinica— in diseases of the respiratory tract and mild bronchospasms. Also in acute coryza, allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. (German Commission E.) In the treatment of nasal congestion due to hay fever, allergic rhinitis, acute coryza, cold, sinusitis and as abronchodilator. (WHO.)
Contraindicated in anxiety, restlessness, high blood pressure, glucoma, impaired circulation of the cerebrum, adenoma of prostate with residual urine accumulation, pheochromocy-toma, thyrotoxicosis. (German Commission E.)
Ephedra is official in the national pharmacopoeias of China, Japan and Germany. The herb is listed in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia. Only its isolated derivatives, ephedrine and ephedrine hydrochloride are official in Indian Pharmacopoeia.
Ephedrine is toxic at more than 300 mg in 1 day (Francis Brinker.)
Aerial parts yielded ephedrine and ephedroxane. Pseudoephedrine is the most active anti-inflammatory principle of Ephedra sp., it exhibited inhibitory action on a number of acute inflammations. Ephedroxane possesses a minor anti-inflammatory principle. Among the Indian species, Ephedra major, found in Lahul, contains over 2.56% alkaloids of which nearly three fourths is ephidrine. Ephedra gerardiana contains 1.22% total alkaloids and 0.68% ephedrine.
On 30 December 2003, the FDA banned ephedra products in the US.
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