1/2 g. Nevada Ephedra Seeds, Mormon Tea, Ephedra nevadenis, ~40 seeds
American ephedra, native to dry areas of western North America. It is found in rocky and sandy soils, generally in areas without trees, like the Nevada desert. Nevada ephedra was used for food and medicine by Native Americans. For Mormons, it was one of the only allowable stimulant beverages, and also readily available, as it is native to the dry American Southwest areas including Utah.
A native shrub growing to 3-4 feet with yellow flowers. Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Tolerates light frost. Edible. Medicinal.
The stems are blood purifier, diuretic, febrifuge and tonic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of kidney problems, gonorrhea and the first stages of syphilis. A poultice of the powdered stems has been applied to sores.
The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system. 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 adverse side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma, but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms by opening the bronchial airways. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, although they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, and older stems can be used for a tea. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.