Ephedra Californica Plant Benefits, Review & Uses of California Mormon Tea
Ephedra californica is only one of many species of the ephedra plant family, traditionally used to brew teas and in herbal medicine.
It was given this name due to its geographic origin in Central and Southern California as well as Western Arizona and Baja California of the southwestern United States.
Is ephedra californica a potent ephedra species? How does this plant compare to Chinese Ephedra Sinica or Ma Huang>
Does it provide the benefits that other species of ephedra do, such as a boost of energy and potential increase in metabolism that leads to weight loss?
In this California Ephedra review, we will discuss the unique properties of this plant, its uses and benefits, legal status and safety. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedra californica is known by a number of nicknames including California jointfir and California ephedra. In Spanish, the herb is known as cañatillo. It prefers growing in desert-like chaparral and has a four to nine-month growing season.
Historically, indigenous natives of the Southern California region used portions of the ephedra plant for a number of medicinal treatments.
For example, creating infusions of the branches steeped in water was used as the blood purification agent, and to soothe sensations of nausea when brewed into a tea.
Other native tribes used the seeds in food for its stimulative effect.
Today, various ephedra plant species and their alkaloids are primarily used for weight loss, but not all species provide the potent alkaloids responsible for this: primarily ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and norephedrine.
Among the most potent species of the herb, and perhaps the most well-known today, is Chinese ephedra, otherwise known as Ma Huang. This species (sinica) is typically native to China and other parts of the Asian continent, including India.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have the ability to stimulate alpha and beta adrenergic receptors. These receptors are primarily responsible for increases in energy production. Energy production in the body creates heat known as thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis, in turn, is perceived to promote metabolism, which enhances lipolysis or fat destruction, the final result being weight loss.
Ephedra Californica Components
A number of studies have been conducted on various species of ephedra in order to determine levels of its more potent components, as well as its alkaloids, amino acids, flavonoids, and phenolic structures.
Some species have been studied in regard to their levels of total alkaloids content (TAC) and their total phenolics content (TPC). They have also been analyzed in order to quantify their levels of potency of the primary ephedra alkaloids, especially ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
There is a dearth of information regarding the specific components of the ephedra californica species in this regard. Over sixty species of ephedra have been identified around the world and not all of them have been analyzed for their components. Some studies of the more potent varieties include:
- Ephedra fragilis
- Ephedra major
- Ephedra distachya (sub species Helvetica)
Ephedra californica is not listed as being found among the more potent species in research today, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide results. Some North American species don’t contain any ephedrine alkaloid, but do contain pseudoephedrine.
Benefits of Use
California ephedra may have some stimulant-like effects due to their pseudoephedrine phytochemical content.
Products containing pseudoephedrine are most commonly associated with decongestants and asthma bronchodilators. For example, the medication Sudafed contains this as its primary ingredient.
This is due to the potential of pseudoephedrine to trigger beta-2 receptors found in the airways that serve the lungs. These receptors are also found in skeletal muscle arteries and mucosal linings and membranes such as those found in the sinuses and nasal passages.
Can pseudoephedrine prove beneficial for weight loss? It is a stimulant, and it can also trigger loss of appetite in some individuals. In an indirect way, ephedra californica can, because it contains pseudoephedrine, provide some benefits for dieters.
Because of its similarity in regard to its mechanism of action, it can also increase blood pressure, which forces the heart to work harder to pump more blood through the cardiovascular system. This in turn increases metabolism, at least in regard to how hard the body is working to perform certain functions.
However, it is not recommended that individuals rely on products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine to promote long-term and sustainable weight loss.
Furthermore, pseudoephedrine is significantly less stimulatory than ephedrine itself. While there have not been comparative studies on their use for fat loss, it is unlikely that this herb will be as effective as Ephedra Sinica extract for burning fat.
Note that dietary supplements can no longer contain ephedrine alkaloids if they are sold in the United States. Ephedra Californica is often used in dietary supplements as an alternative species of ephedra herbal extract because of this.
A number of individuals seeking accelerated weight loss often combine some type of ephedrine-based product or ephedra diet pills (without the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine alkaloids) with other stimulants including caffeine, green tea extract, and herbs like Yerba Mate or Yohimbe/Yohimbine.
Dosages and the ways in which people combine these components vary widely depending on goals, personal preferences, tolerance levels, and diet combined with exercise.
Is Ephedra Californica Legal?
Today, ephedrine and other alkaloids of the ephedra plant are banned in over-the-counter dietary weight loss supplements. Low milligram strengths of ephedrine can still be found in a number of medicinal products such as asthma bronchodilators.
Potential users, primarily athletes, should be aware that the World Anti-Doping Agency has deemed ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and methylephedrine as stimulants.
Growing attention has been applied to sales of such products due to their use as precursors in the manufacture of synthetic methamphetamine.
While the California Ephedra herb is legal to grow and to buy online or to use in teas, its availability is restricted in many locations. You will not see this sold in major retail stores like GNC, Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or Rite-Aid.
The stimulative properties of many of the ephedra species, and which also may be applicable to ephedra californica, can contribute to a number of undesired and unpleasant side effects for users.
Sometimes, even low dosages can cause problems. Such issues are exacerbated when combined with other stimulants such as caffeine. Watch for:
- Nausea, sometimes along with vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Racing heart
- Jittery or tremors in the hands
- Increased sense of excited ability or anxiety
Among the more serious side effects of ephedra/ephedrine/pseudoephedrine usage is the effect it can have on the cardiovascular system, primarily the heart muscle.
Too much of anything can cause negative and adverse reactions. Misuse of ephedra products and compounds have been reported to cause arrhythmias, tachycardia, myocardial infarctions, and for some, brain seizures and strokes.
Before turning to any ephedra species, including ephedra californica to lose weight, to provide a boost of energy, or to enhance exercise or activity performance and endurance, carefully consider how it affects various portions of the body.
Resist the urge to increase dosages or frequency of dosage for accelerated benefits.
While ephedra californica is not perceived to be among the most potent of the species, it always pays to be aware of what species some of the more popular ephedra extract products come from.