Herb latin name: Ephedra americana andina

Synonyms: Ephedra andina

Family: Ephedraceae

Medicinal use of Ephedra americana andina:

The stems are depurative and diuretic. 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 side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, though they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, though older stems can be used if a tea is made. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Stony slopes and gravel terraces.

Edible parts of Ephedra americana andina:

Fruit - raw. A sweet flavour, but fairly boring. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be used for ground cover, spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Propagation of Ephedra americana andina:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost. 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. Division in spring or autumn. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Stony slopes and gravel terraces.

Known hazards of Ephedra americana andina:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.