Ephedra tea has been recognized in the annals of Chinese traditional and herbal medicine as being particularly potent in the treatment of various respiratory ailments. However, there is also currently some controversy regarding the consumption of ephedra in large doses as there have been adverse findings on its side effects and reactions with other medication.
Ephedra is a plant known in China as Ma Huang and has been traditionally used to stop “leakages” that contribute to the loss of energy and vigor. It has been used in China for 5,000 years to treat asthma and upper respiratory infections.
The stems of ephedra have pungent and bitter taste that have diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral, vasoconstrictive and vasodilative properties.
The main chemical constituent in ephedra is ephedrine. Ephedrine is a potent chemical that works by stimulating the nervous system, dilating bronchial tubes, elevating blood pressure, and increasing heart rate.
Due to these effects, ephedra became a favorite of athletes as it is believed that the herb enhances athletic performance. But several incidences of adverse effects on health and even death that may have been caused by excessive consumption of ephedra and ephedra supplements led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of ephedra supplements in the United States in 2004. Currently, ephedra and ephedrine products are heavily regulated and those buying large quantities in frequent durations face penalties.
Nonetheless, ephedra remains widely used by athletes. A survey of college hockey players in 2006 found that nearly half had used ephedra in the belief it would enhance athletic performance.
Ephedra tea can be made by placing about 10 grams of ephedra herb in 2 cups of water and let it boil for 10 minutes. Filter out the herbs before drinking the ephedra tea.
The following are some health benefits attributed to this herbal tea:
- May help alleviate such respiratory ailments as asthma, colds, coughs and hay fever.
- May help expel exterior pathogens and regulate the proper functioning of the lungs.
- This tea, when taken in a regulated and supervised manner, may be effective for short-term weight loss.
- May help in alleviating various allergic symptoms.
- When taken in a regulated and supervised manner, the tea stimulates the central nervous system may help boost energy and enhance alertness.
Ephedra is best not used as a stimulant. Its long-term use is not recommended. It is always best to seek the advice of qualified health practitioners when using ephedra, especially those that have high blood pressure, heart or thyroid diseases, diabetes, prostate problems and other conditions. Pregnant and nursing women are advised against using ephedra, ephedra tea or other products with ephedra.