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Ephedra gerardiana - Wall. ex Stapf.
Common Name Ma Huang, Gerard jointfir
Family Ephedraceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Stony slopes and gravel terraces in drier areas of the Himalayas at 2400 - 5000 metres from Afghanistan to Bhutan[51].
Range E. Asia - S.W. China to the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Ephedra gerardiana Ma Huang, Gerard jointfir

R.A. Howard @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Ephedra gerardiana Ma Huang, Gerard jointfir
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Ephedra gerardiana is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

E. vulgaris. Rich.

 Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[105, 146]. A sweet flavour[158]. The fruit is about 7mm in diameter[200].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiasthmatic;  Antirheumatic;  Cardiotonic;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Tonic;  Vasodilator;  
VD;  Vulnerary.

Members of this genus contain various medicinally active alkaloids (but notably ephedrine) and they are widely used in preparations for the treatment of asthma and catarrh[238]. Ephedrine acts promptly to reduce swellings of the mucous membranes and has antispasmodic properties, thus making it valuable in the treatment of asthma[4]. This species contains between 0.28 and 2.79 alkaloids[240]. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents - unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects[254]. The plant also has antiviral effects, particularly against influenza[238]. The stems are a pungent, bitter, warm herb that dilates the bronchial vessels whilst stimulating the heart and central nervous system[238]. The stems are also diaphoretic. diuretic and vasodilator[4, 61, 165, 238]. They are used internally in the treatment of asthma, hay fever and allergic complaints[238]. They are also combined with a number of other herbs and used in treating a wide range of complaints238]. This herb should be used with great caution, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238]. It should not be prescribed to patients who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or glaucoma[238]. Ephedrine is seen as a performance-boosting herb and, as such, is a forbidden substance in many sporting events such as athletics[K]. The stems are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency[241]. Febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary, they are used in the treatment of severe bleeding and chronic fevers[241]. A decoction of the stems and roots is used in Russia to treat rheumatism and syphilis[243]. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use[238]. The juice of the berries is used to treat respiratory affections[243].
Other Uses

The wood is very close grained[158]. Too small for commercial exploitation, though it is used locally for fuel[146]. A good ground cover plant for dry soils[188]. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way[208].
Cultivation details
Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position[11]. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant[200]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse[200]. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter[K]. Division in spring or autumn[238]. Layering.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ephedra altissimaHigh-climbing jointfir13
Ephedra americana andina 23
Ephedra ciliata 13
Ephedra distachyaSea Grape, Jointfir24
Ephedra equisetinaMuzei Ma Huang, Ma huang14
Ephedra fragilis 24
Ephedra intermediaZhong Ma Huang14
Ephedra majorMa Huang14
Ephedra nevadensisMormon Tea, Nevada jointfir33
Ephedra pachyclada 23
Ephedra sinicaMa Huang, Chinese ephedra14
Ephedra torreyanaMexican Tea, Torrey's jointfir23
Ephedra triandra 13
Ephedra trifurcaLongleaf Jointfir12
Ephedra viridisMormon Tea, Brigham Tea, Long Leaf Ephedra, Mountain Joint Fir, Mormon Tea, Ephedra23
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Expert comment
Wall. ex Stapf.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
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Subject : Ephedra gerardiana  

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