Ephedra sinica

Ephedra sinica                                       Common name: Ephedra, Ma Huang


Part used: Stem

Constituents: Protoalkaloids (ephedrine, pseudoepedrine), tannins, saponins, flavonoids, Volatile oil

Actions: Vasodilator, Diaphoretic, Bronchodilator, Decongestant, diuretic, circulatory stimulant, hypertensive, antiallergic

Medical uses: Extractions are used as a decongestant and anti-asthmatic and anti-allergenic. Can also be employed to treat low blood pressure and circulatory insufficiency.


  • Alkaloids such as ephedrine mimics the effects of adrenaline within the body increasing alertness, and has ability to relax airways in the lungs

Pharmacy: Tincture: (1:4, 45%), 1-4ml TID. Decoction: 2 tsp/1 cup water, TID. Capsules: 15-30mg total alkaloid QD.

Contraindications: Use with extreme caution in the presence of cardiovascular disorders  thyroid disease, diabetes or BPH.

Toxicity: Stimulation of the autonomic nervous system producing symptoms such as tachycardia & hypertension.

Interactions: With cardiac glycosides can produce cardiac arrythmia. Any other sympathomimetics, alkaloid derivatives (ergotamine), oxytocin, or MAOIs can cause fatal hypertension.

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