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Common Name Ephedra
Latin Name Ephedra sinica
Family Ephedraceae
Part Used Aerial stems
Gathering Time Gather the young brances in the Fall before the first frost when the alkaoid content is high
Constituents Alkaloids which include ephedrine, norephdrine, tannins, sapponin, flavone, essential oil
Actions Vasodilator, hypertensive, circulatory stimulant, anti-allergic
Common Uses Used primarily for asthma and conditions where the bronchial tubes are restricted. Can also be used for allergic reaction where breathing becomes restricted.
Contraindications High blood pressure, heart conditions, anxiety, insommnia.
Possible Drug Interactions Increased arrithmias when used concurrently with halothane anesthetics. Potentiates other stimulants such as caffeinated products. Has caused hypertensive crisis when used with MAOIs.
Overdose Symptoms Can cause complications from elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate. Has unfortunately been used as a "recreation drug" by individuals looking for a "natural high" and as a "natural" herbal weight loss product. In these extreme cases, overdose can lead to cardiac failure and death.

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The material in this section is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your own physician regarding the use of any herbs with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. Never attempt to self-diagnose and treat. It is the responsibility of a licensed health care practitioner to determine best dosages and treatment. The study of medicinal herbs is an ever-changing body of knowledge. Readers are encouraged to consult referenced material for the latest scientific evidence regarding herbal actions.