Ephedra sinica, also known as Ma Huang in Chinese, has been used for thousands of years all over the world to treat hay fever, asthma, and even the common cold. Other species of the genus Ephedra have also been known to treat a variety of medicinal purposes. Recently, Ephedra has been found to have weight loss properties, hence the sudden rise in popularity of Ephedrine HCL – one of the active components of the ephedra herb.
All About Ma Huang Seeds
You can purchase ephedra seeds online or from a local herbologist. Ma Huang seeds are best planted in the early days of spring. Germinating the seeds is easy, and usually done in a warm, moist, sandy medium. Place the Ma Huang seeds on the surface of the soil, and cover thinly with more sandy or soil. Keep this area moist until the seeds have germinated, which usually takes around 10-12 days. Leaving your seeds to germinate outside could take longer, as cold temperatures tend to prolong the germination times.
It’s best to have as much control over the growing conditions as possible, so an indoor greenhouse would be ideal. The seedlings are relatively small. Wait until they are about 4 inches in length before transplanting. When it comes to planting ephedra in pots or in the ground, pots will always deliver better results.
Once the seed has germinated, ease up on your watering schedule because the young seedlings do not need as much hydration—it is a desert plant, after all. In its first year of growth, you must take care in ensuring that the ephedra plant stays weed free. It must be watered regularly and allowed to thrive in a slightly arid climate.
After four years of growth, the stems, roots and leaves of the ephedra herb can then be harvested. the best time to harvest Ephedra sinica is any time but the summer as summertime rains can over-hydrate the plant causing a drop in alkaloid content. The alkaloid content – which determines how powerful the effects of the plant are – has been found to be the highest in the spring season. it is the common to ground the stems and leaves of the plant into an ephedra powder or to brew it as Ma Huang Tea.
Pros and Cons
Planting your own Ma Huang shrub ensure that you have a cheap and available source of this herb on an ongoing basis. It can be difficult and expensive to purchase Chinese ma huang stems in the USA so if you have to have the real thing this is the best way to go about it. Growing your own plant also gives you control over the chemicals it is exposed to and allows you to limit possible toxic interference. You can control how much plant pesticides, if any, to use.
However it will be difficult to make a useable quantity of this herb and you have to wait four years to go from seeds to an ephedrine-yielding plant. Drying and storing your ephedra is another challenge, as some of it can easily be contaminated with mold. The faintest traces of mold render the herb useless, not to mention dangerous to ingest.
The plant needs to be harvested in large quantities to sustain the typical length of a weight loss diet. This ranges from a few months, to decades. An indoor greenhouse could be costly to maintain and properly equip. Not all homes are located in the right climates for this kind of growing activity and with the higher frequency of extreme weather events, you may see your plant die before it can be harvested.
Considering the long-term cost of your time and effort, in addition to purchasing the seeds and expenses to sustain an indoor greenhouse, it’s much more cost-effective to buy cheap ephedrine from a trusted source. At less than $10.00 per bottle, you will be saving a lot more if you simply purchase ephedrine HCL on its own. Kaizen and Synergenex are well-known manufacturers of ephedrine HCL that are both legal in the United States.
- Williams AD, et al. The effect of ephedra and caffeine on maximal strength and power in resistance-trained athletes. J Strength Cond Res. (2008)
- Agonist-Directed Desensitization of the ?2-Adrenergic Receptor
- Nelson HS. Is there a problem with inhaled long-acting beta-adrenergic agonists. J Allergy Clin Immunol. (2006)