Herb: Mexican Tea
Latin name: Ephedra torreyana
Medicinal use of Mexican Tea:This plant has a wide reputation as a cure for syphilis. A decoction of the stems is used, this decoction is also used in treating coughs, bladder and kidney problems and stomach disorders. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a lotion on itchy skin. 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:
(3 1/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Dry gravelly or sandy plains, hills and canyons, 900 - 1800 metres in New Mexico. Dry rocky to sandy areas, 500--2000 m.
Edible parts of Mexican Tea:An excellent tea is made by boiling the stems for a few minutes and allowing the brew to steep. Fruit - raw or cooked.
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 Mexican Tea:Dry gravelly or sandy plains, hills and canyons, 900 - 1800 metres in New Mexico. Dry rocky to sandy areas, 500--2000 m.
Known hazards of Ephedra torreyana:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.