Ephedra monosperma seeds

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Ephedra monosperma
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Ephedra monosperma seeds

 

Ephedra monosperma, with a synonym of Ephedra minima, has a common name as dan zi Huang among the Chinese. Ephedra minima is a small plant from the Ephedraceae family. The plant grows in dry or rocky slope areas. It is widely distributed in China and grows to the heights of about 20cm tall, mostly with creeping runners. It is a perennial plant and has a life span of at least 3 years.

Ephedra monosperma plant has woody stems that have several small branches. The branches are slim and do spread; they also have a curving shape. The plant has opposite leaves with one ovule in every cone which is enclosed by two cone bracts. The pollen cones have about 3 pairs of decussate scales having a broad margin. They are sessile at the nodes and have rare solitary. The pollen cone bracts are in 3 pairs. The plant pollinates in June and matures its seeds in August. Blooming is always noticed in May. The seed cones are solitary at the nodes, ovoid and sessile when they mature. Mature cones are red in colour, fleshy and have glucose. The seeds are of 4mm in length and 2.5mm in width, and they are usually not exerted.

Ephedra monosperma is a dioecious plant. This means that it needs the male pollen to be able to reproduce. The male plant often falls after giving the pollen. The seed from the fruits is distributed by the birds who feed on it.

Ephedra minima plant has been widely used for medical purposes not only in China but in other countries globally as well. The remedy from Ephedra monosperma is said to treat Hay fever, common cold and asthma. This is because it has pure alkaloid ephedrine that is popular for being effective in treating the mentioned diseases and is consumed through the mouth. The matured cone of this plant can be dried, ground and mixed with white tea to make Mongolia tea. It can also be consumed without milk.

The alkaloids produced by Ephedra monosperma is, however, poisonous and can result in diverse side effects. For this reason, it has been burned to be sued as medicine in some countries like the US. Among the side effects cause are like the risk of increased cardiovascular events, increase in heart rates and many more. The plant should be consumed only under the direction of a professional to avoid diverse side effects.

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