Herb: Mormon Tea

Latin name: Ephedra nevadensis

Family: Ephedraceae

Medicinal use of Mormon Tea:

The stems are blood purifier, diuretic, febrifuge and tonic. They are beneficial in the treatment of urogenital complaints. An infusion has been used in the treatment of kidney problems, gonorrhoea 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 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:


120 cm
(4 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry, rocky slopes and hills, rarely in sandy flat areas, at elevtions of 700 - 1900 metres.

Edible parts of Mormon Tea:

Fruit - raw. A sweet but very mild flavour. Seed - cooked. A bitter taste. It can be roasted and ground into a powder and used to make a bread or mush. A delicious tea is made by steeping the green or dried twigs in boiling water until they turn an amber or pink colour.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Mormon Tea:

Dry, rocky slopes and hills, rarely in sandy flat areas, at elevtions of 700 - 1900 metres.

Known hazards of Ephedra nevadensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.