Monday, 2 May 2011

Ephedra or desert tea fights asthma

By Syed Akbar
Ephedra or desert tea is a double-edged sword. It has a number of benefits if it is consumed in minute quantities and for a limited number of days. If it is taken in large quantities and for a longer period, Ephedra may cause severe health complications including cardiac arrest. Those using Ephedra herbal formulations should take extra caution to derive its health benefits to the fullest. Always use the herb in minute 
quantities and ensure that the usage does not extend to more than five days.
Ephedra is an ancient herb and has been in use in Chinese medicinal system for almost 5000 years. It is also used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine. It is, however, popular in Chinese system of medicine. It has a number of health benefits, but Ephedra is primarily used for treatment of upper respiratory tract diseases like asthma and bronchitis. Other uses include treatment of common cold, nasal blockade, low blood 
pressure, depression, and alleviation of fever. It purifies blood. It is often recommended in the treatment of syphilis, rheumatic pains and for reduction of weight.
Those suffering from heart problems, glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure and thyroid issues should avoid using Ephedra. Others may use it in minute quantities. The leaves and stem of Ephedra are used in medical formulations. Caution has to be exercised because Ephedra contains a chemical called ephedrine, which is narcotic in nature and acts on the central nervous system.
Home remedies
Take two grams of dried Ephedra plant, add a cup of water and boil it. Filter the decoction and consume it thrice a day for relief from asthma and bronchitis.
Ephedra is also used as a general health tonic. Ephedra decoction obtained by boiling two grams of its dried stem or leaves in a glass of water can be used once a day to improve blood circulation. Ephedra opens up the wind pipe and air passages in the lungs enabling them to take extra oxygen and supply oxygen rich blood to the body.
Ephedra is prescribed for treatment of depression as it is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. A word of caution, Ephedra should never be combined with coffee, tea or anti-depressant drugs. When on use of Ephedra, avoid coffee, tea and anti-depressant drugs. A little quantity (two to three ml) of Ephedra tincture is often prescribed to fight depression.
A little quantity of decoction of root and stem of Ephedra will provide relief from rheumatic pains.

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity