Ephedra Sinica is an evergreen native to Asia, where is has long been part of traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for respiratory conditions.
"Within the realm of traditional Chinese medicine, ephedra has been commonly used for colds, fever, and in Chinese formulas to treat asthma and breathing problems," said Lixing Lao, Ph.D., L.AC., director of traditional Chinese medicine research at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, located at Kernan Hospital, and associate professor of family medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Nowadays it's used to lose weight, which is not indicated in traditional Chinese medicine2."
Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:
Western Herbal Applications:
According to Mr. M Grieve: "A sympathetic nerve stimulant resembling adrenaline, its effect on the unstriped muscular fibres is remarkable. It acts promptly in relieving swellings of the mucous membrane. It has valuable antispasmodic properties, acts on the air passages and is of benefit in asthma and hay fever; it is also employed for rheumatism; a 5 to 10 per cent solution has mydriatic properties, prophylactically used for low blood pressure in influenza, pneumonia, etc. Used in tablet form for oral or hypodermic administration and in ampuls for hypodermic, intramuscular and intravenous use3."
Chinese Herbal Applications:
- Comon Cold with symptoms of chills, fever, headache, lack of sweating and tight, floating pulse4.
- Promotes Lung Qi and contrals wheezing - used for cough and wheezing (Asthma) due to obstruction of Lung Qi by Wind & Cold4. It is therefore useful in Allergic rhinitis, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cough and Sinusitis if due to Lung Qi stagnation due to Wind & Cold.
Other indications include:
Acute coryza (rhinitis), anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), anti-inflammatory, antiviral, appetite suppressant, athletic performance enhancer, bed-wetting, body building, chills, colds, congenital myasthenic syndrome, cough, decongestant, depression, diuretic, dyspnea (shortness of breath), edema, energy enhancer, euphoria, fevers, flu, gonorrhea, gout, hay fever, hives, increased sweating, joint pain, kidney disease, lack of perspiration, metabolic enhancement, myasthenia gravis, narcolepsy, nasal congestion, nephritis, performance enhancement, runny nose, shortness of breath, stimulation of energy, syphilis, stimulant, upper respiratory tract infections, urticaria (rash), uterine stimulant, water retention5.