The herbaceous stem of Ephedra sinica Stapf (Fam. Ephedraceae).
Mainly in Chinese provinces such as Shanxi and Shaanxi, and in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia.
Harvest & Processing
Collect green herbaceous stems in autumn and dry under the sun.
Stem slender and cylindrical, with few branches; 1-2mm in diameter. Outer surface pale green to yellowish-green, marked with fine, slightly rough longitudinal ridges. Nodes prominent, internodes 2-6 cm long. On the nodes are membranous scale leaves 3-4 mm long and with 2 lobes (very occasionally 3), each lobe the shape of an acute triangle, with greyish-white apex curling downwards and tubular reddish-brown base. Light in weight; brittle, breaks easily. When broken, surface slightly fibrous, with a yellowish-green rim and suborbicular (almost round) reddish-brown pith. Odour: slightly fragrant; taste: astringent and slightly bitter.
1. Common cold, fever with anhidrosis
2. Cough and dyspnoea
Mainly contains alkaloids such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
According to C.P., also used for medicinal purposes is the herbaceous stem of E. intermedia Schrenk et C.A.Mey. and E.equisetina Bge.
Remark: C.P. = Chinese Pharmacopoeia
The information and images in this Online Herbal Exhibition is form the book, "An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica in Hong Kong", edited by Professor Zhao Zhongzhen, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University. For the complete collection of Chinese Materia Medica compiled by Professor Zhao, please go to this website: http://www.bucmm.org.