Ephedra / Ephedra distachya L. / is a protected plant species, and its collection is therefore forbidden. It is often used not only in medicine, but also in the sports world, the most common use being for weight loss. Many do not recommend the use of ephedra because of certain side effects. The positive qualities of ephedra make it a very effective herb.
Ephedra comes from central China, Japan and South Siberia. It grows in dry, sandy areas and rocky places, and along the coasts. Depending on which region it grows in, ephedra comes with varying concentrations of ephedrine.
Ephedra in the areas of China have the highest concentration. For medical purposes, the aerial parts of ephedra are used - the roots and stems.
Composition of ephedra
Ephedra contains the alkaloids ephedrine, norephedrine, methylephedrine; resins and tannins; flobafens and others.
Selection and storage of ephedra
Ephedra is a protected plant, which is why picking it is prohibited. However, products and drugs with ephedra can be bought at pharmacies. It is recommended that ephedra decoctions be used solely based on medical prescription.
Benefits of ephedra
The therapeutic actions of ephedra are due to the contained ephedrine therein. Ephedrine is an alkaloid that has a similar effect to adrenaline, but is less pronounced. Ephedrine increases blood pressure, quickens and strengthens cardiac contractibility, improves circulation, excites the respiratory center, widens the bronchi.
Ephedra is used for treating low blood pressure, a strong and persistent cough, hay fever and bronchial asthma, spastic bronchitis. The herb gets rid of sleepiness. In medicine, pure ephedrine is used, but using a prescription.
Caffeine and ephedrine act as synergists (they assist each other) and aspirin enhances their effect. The three components taken together have a powerful influence on the nervous system.
Ephedra and fitness
Ephedrine is a powerful stimulant, which is why many bodybuilders use it. It increases the motility of the intestinal tract and increases muscle strength. Athletes use ephedrine because of its positive effect on concentration and speed. Ephedrine substances improve memory because they have psychostimulant effects.
Dangers of ephedra
Ephedrine excites the nervous system, therefore frequent and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and nervousness, trembling of the limbs, anxiety, palpitations, and even hallucinations. Side effects such as nausea and vomiting, headache and dizziness are not uncommon.
The most extreme manifestations are sweating, high libido and vision impairment. Ephedra should not be used by people who suffer from high blood pressure, diseases of the thyroid gland, psychosis and insomnia.
Ephedrine and certain drugs have incompatibilities. Combining ephedra with agents that affect the cardiovascular and nervous systems must be done only under medical supervision. Ephedrine should not be used with alcohol, because the consequences can be very dangerous.