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Since May 10th 2008

Initial E

Echinacea angustifolia
Echinacea purpurea
Ephedra sinica
Eleutherococcus senticosus
Eucalyptus globulus



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Untitled Document Ephedra sinica Stapf (Ephedraceae)

Local names
Amsania, budshur, chewa, Chinese ephedra, ephédra, horsetail, hum, huma, joint fir, khama, ma hoàng, ma huang, máhuáng, mao, maoh, maou, mao-kon, môc tac ma hoàng, mu-tsei-ma-huang, phok, san-ma-huang, shrubby, soma, song tuê ma hoàng, trung aa hoàng, tsao-ma-huang, tutgantha

Erect or prostrate, green, almost leafless shrub, 20–90 cm high. Branches erect, short, glaucous green, somewhat flat, 1.0–1.5 mm in diameter, with small sparse longitudinal striae, fasciated at the nodes; nodes reddish brown; internode 2.5– 5.5 cm long  2 mm in diameter. Small triangular leaves opposite, reduced to scales, barely 2mm. Flowers in summer, unisexual, dioecious; male flowers pedunculate or nearly sessile, grouped in catkins composed of 4 to 8 pairs of flowers with about 8 anthers; female flowers biflorous, pedunculate with 3 or 4 pairs of bracts, the naked ovule surrounded by an urn-shaped perianth sheath, fruiting with often fleshy red succulent bracts, 2-seeded

Plant material used
stem or aerial part

Chemical assays
Contains not less than 0.7% total alkaloids, calculated as ephedrine by highperformance liquid chromatography in the Japanese pharmacopoeia; or not less than 0.8% of total alkaloids, calculated as ephedrine in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Thin-layer, gas–liquid or high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis for ephedrine and related alkaloids are available.

Major chemical constituents
The major active principle found in Herba Ephedrae is (-)-ephedrine in concentrations of 40–90% of the total alkaloid fraction, accompanied by (+)-pseudoephedrine. Other trace alkaloids in the alkaloid complex include (-)-norephedrine, (+)-norpseudoephedrine, (-)-methylephedrine and (+)- methylpseudoephedrine. The total alkaloid content can exceed 2% depending on the species. Not all Ephedra species contain ephedrine or alkaloids.

Dosage forms
Powdered plant material; extracts and other galenicals. Store in well closed, light-resistant containers.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Herba Ephedrae preparations are used in the treatment of nasal congestion due to hay fever, allergic rhinitis, acute coryza, common cold, and sinusitis. The drug is further used as a bronchodilator in the treatment of bronchial asthma.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Herba Ephedrae has been used for the treatment of urticaria, enuresis, narcolepsy, myasthenia gravis, and chronic postural hypotension.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Other medical uses claimed for Herba Ephedrae preparations include its use as an analgesic, an antiviral agent, an antitussive and expectorant, an antibacterial, and an immune stimulant

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Vasoconstrictor and cardiac stimulator, Bronchodilator, Nasal decongestan, CNS stimulant

Human studies
Vasoconstrictor and cardiac stimulator, Bronchodilator, Nasal decongestan, CNS stimulant

Herba Ephedrae should not be administered to patients with coronary thrombosis, diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, hypertension, thyroid disease, impaired circulation of the cerebrum, phaeochromocytoma, or enlarged prostate. Co-administration of Herba Ephedrae preparations with monoamine oxidase inhibitors is contraindicated as the combination may cause severe, possibly fatal, hypertension

Dosage should be reduced or treatment discontinued if nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, loss of appetite or nausea occurs. Not for children under 6 years of age. Keep out of the reach of children (30). Continued, prolonged use may cause dependency.

Insomnia may occur with continued use of Herba Ephedrae preparations.

Drug interactions
In combination with cardiac glycosides or halothane, may cause heart rhythm disturbances; with guanethidine, may cause an enhancement of sympathomimetic effect; with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, can cause severe, possibly fatal, hypertension; with ergot alkaloid derivatives or oxytocin, may increase risk of high blood pressure.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Extracts of Ephedra sinica are not mutagenic in the Salmonella/microsome reversion assay.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
Ephedra sinica did not have any teratogenic effects in vivo.
Pregnancy: nonteratogenic effects
Ephedra sinica is not abortifacient in rats. Clinical studies in humans are not available; therefore, use of the drug during pregnancy is not generally recommended.

Nursing mothers
There are no reliable studies on this subject. Therefore, nursing mothers should not take Herba Ephedrae without consulting a physician.

Paediatric use
Herba Ephedrae should not be administered to children under 6 years of age.

Other precautions
No information available concerning drug and laboratory test interactions.

Adverse reactions
In large doses Herba Ephedrae products can cause nervousness, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, palpitations, skin flushing and tingling, and vomiting The principal adverse effects of ephedrine and Herba Ephedrae are stimulation of the central nervous system, nausea, tremors, tachycardia, and urine retention. Continued, prolonged use (>3 days) of topical preparations containing Herba Ephedrae, for the treatment of nasal congestion, may cause rebound congestion and chronic rhinitis. Continued prolonged use of oral preparations may cause dependency

Crude plant material: 1–6g for decoction daily. Liquid extract (1 :1 in 45% alcohol): 1–3ml daily. Tincture (1 :4 in 45% alcohol): 6–8ml daily


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