Ephedra Nevadensis is one of the species of the ephedra plant native to North America. This herb typically grows in warm and arid climates, especially in Nevada (hence the name). It can grow to 4 feet in height and it features long jointed stems with small pollen cones and scale-like leaves budding from its branches. The shrub was originally harvested by Native American people as well as early Mormon settlers who used it both as food and for its medicinal benefits. Presently, you will find ephedra nevadensis listed on the ingredients list of many weight loss products but you should be aware this herb is not as effective as “real ephedra”.
When the FDA banned ephedra sinica from weight loss products in the US, many supplement companies turned to using ephedra nevadensis instead. These two plants both come from the Ephedraceae family, but they are distinct species and have very different chemical compositions. Many people do not know this, but ephedra nevadensis does not have any ephedrine alkaloids in it. Ephedrine is the key component in ephedra sinica that stimulates the central nervous system and burns fat. Without this alkaloid, your weight loss results will be greatly limited.
That is why when you purchase any ephedra diet pill or fat burning supplement, it is important to determine the source of ephedra to make sure that it actually has ephedrine alkaloids. Of the thirty or so species of ephedra, Chinese ephedra sinica (ma huang) has the highest average ephedrine content followed by sida cordifolia, ephedra vulgaris, ephedra distachya, and ephedra viridis. You should also make sure that your pill does not contain “ephedra extract” which is any sort of herbal ephedra that has had its ephedrine alkaloids removed. Most dieters now use pure ephedrine HCL which is safer and less expensive than buying a real ephedra weight loss product.
Even though ephedra nevadensis does not contain ephedrine alkaloids, it has other medicinal properties due to the presence of small amounts of other stimulative alkaloids. The Mormons used it in “Mormon Tea” or Brigham Tea to treat breathing problems, decrease blood pressure, open up the nasal passages and alleviate heachade symptoms. To prepare the ephedra tea, they would first cut and dry the branches from plants that had reached four years in maturity. Stems and leaves would be dried for at least four weeks and then either ground into a powder or chopped into smaller pieces to make tea. Native Americans also prepared creams with ephedra for treatment of external sores on the skin.
You can buy this herb in a number of different formats, including as raw stems and leaves, Nevada Ephedra seeds, and in pre-packaged capsule formats often with other ingredients. The purpose you are buying it for should determine which form is best for you. As with any medicinal compound, there are side effects that you should be aware of before taking this supplement. These can include nausea, dehydration, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, and cardiac arrhythmias. You should not take ephedra nevadensis if you are on anti-depressants, if you have heart problems or issues with your kidney or liver, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or if you have a history of high blood pressure. Speak to your doctor before taking any herbal supplement to make sure you are healthy enough to use it.
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