Mormon-tea is a leafless shrub of the Southwest American deserts. The Mormons, who decline the use of caffeine due to religious reasons, make use of the stimulating effect of this plant; therefore the name. Mahuang has a comparable appearance; but it grows in Europe and Asia. It contains the same alkaloids as its North American relative, even in a bit higher concentration. Its cultivation is possible without any bigger problems.
Use: 2 to 4 teaspoons of the cut or 1 to 2 teaspoons of the ground plant are cooked in water for ten minutes. Preparation with lemon juice helps to bring the alkaloids into solution. One can pulverize the well-dried herb and add it to tea or coffee. If possible it should be taken on an empty stomach.
Active constituents: D-norpseudoephedrine.
Effects: Increases blood pressure, makes awake, stimulating, performance enhancing. Lessens asthma. By the increase of the basal metabolic rate and the appetite suppressing effect, the intake as a course of treatment leads to increased fat burning and therefore to a reduction of weight. Dnorpseudoephedrine is therefore also contained in appetite suppressants. But especially a regular usage brings higher risks. Ephedra sinica is supposed to act a bit more moderate than Ephedra nevadensis.
Side Effects: Continuous use can lead to addiction. Overuse can cause lack of appetite, increased heart beat und cardiac arrhythmia.
Supplier: Seeds and plants in garden centers. Dried herb rarely in ethnobotanical or Chinese herbal stores (Ma Huang).
Miscellaneous: There are other Ephedra-species that also contain ephedrine.