Ephedra Gerardiana Plant Benefits, Uses & Dangers
Ephedra gerardiana is only one of dozens of species of the ephedra plant that grows around the world. Not all species provide the same benefits.
What kind of benefits? Medicinally, ephedra and some of its components have been used to treat lung and breathing conditions, both in historical and modern usage.
Today, ephedra and its primary components, including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, have more commonly been used for nonmedical purposes such as weight loss, for its appetite suppressant capabilities, to fat burn and increase energy.
How does ephedra gerardiana compare to other species? Is it better than one of the most well-known ephedra species known as ephedra sinica or Ma Huang? Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
What is Ephedra Gerardiana?
Ephedra gerardiana is a species of ephedra that typically grows in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan and throughout northwestern Asia in locations such as northern India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Tibet.
Because if its plentiful growth in these areas, it’s long been used in traditional Indian or Ayurvedic medicinal practices (and still is).
Indigenous peoples of the area commonly brew the stems, twigs, and leaves of the ephedra plant into a tea that was/is consumed as a treatment for the relief of numerous ailments and symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, to the treatment of the common cold.
Uses and Active Ingredients
The ephedra gerardiana species is known by and number of nicknames, synonyms, and common names, including but not limited to:
- Indian Somalata
- Tibetan Khanda Ma Houng
- Chinese Ma Huang (Chinese sinica or Chinese ephedra)
In modern usage, the ephedrine that’s extracted from the ephedra gerardiana species – and other species of the plant – found its way into dietary supplements promoting accelerated weight loss, loss of fat stores in the body, as well its effect as an appetite suppressant.
Since 2004, ephedra alkaloids – primarily ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – have been banned from over-the-counter, dietary or weight-loss products.
Finding pure ephedra gerardiana typically requires online searches for the vendors in Asian countries that may still sell the product for use in making tea.
How to Make Ephedra Gerardiana Tea
In traditional practices, the ephedra gerardiana plant stalks were boiled in water for approximately ten minutes.
This concoction was used as a stimulant, and when relatively low doses (approximately 6 g) were used, provided a number of benefits. However, exceeding that dosage and up to 30 g often contributed to a sense of euphoria in users. 
Not all ephedra plants contain the same alkaloid contents, primarily the ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or other alkaloids, so effects vary widely. So too do brewing methods.
In Tibetan as well as Ayurvedic practices, the tea brewed from the ephedra gerardiana plant typically used 6 g of dried components brewed into a tea for the treatment and relief of symptoms caused by breathing and lung issues.
In Tibetan healing practices, the concoction was also used to rejuvenate or stimulate the body.
Comparison to Ephedra Sinica (Ma Huang)
When it comes to comparing the potency of ephedra gerardiana and ephedra sinica, a few resources from the National Institutes of Health, clinical trials, and government agencies are accessible and may prove interesting to users.
Not all ephedra species have been tested in regard to their chemical components. One 1998 study of the ephedrine content (before the ban of ephedinea alkaloids) determined that the alkaloid content can vary drastically in dietary products – with a range of 1.08 to 13.54 mg of the alkaloid content. 
Consumers never exactly new what they were going to get in their product, and very few guidelines regarding manufacture existed. Ephedra sinica is known to contain greater concentrations of the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine alkaloids than ephedra intermedia, while some species contain little to no alkaloid content.
Another study determined that the total alkaloid content of ephedra sinica averages between 0.42 and 49 mg. 
Soil characteristics, time of harvest, storage conditions, and other factors can influence the potency of any ephedra species. The same applies to the total alkaloid content of ephedra gerardiana.
Basically, the two species fall within the same range, sometimes overlapping toward the greater end of potency, again depending on harvesting and growing conditions.
Safety With Use
As always, safety should be considered when experimenting with any version of ephedra species. The pharmacological as well as toxicological effects of the species can differ between individuals using the same amount depending on individual tolerance and sensitivity levels, metabolism, body composition, and so forth.
Because the stimulative effect of ephedra primarily affects the central nervous system and most specifically the sympathetic nervous system, ephedra in any amount can trigger changes or influences of a number of body functions including but not limited to:
- Cardiovascular function, such as heart rate, blood pressure, force of heart contractions, speed of the heart rate.
- Digestion can be affected due to hormonal and metabolic changes caused by the stimulative effect of various alkaloids and components of the ephedrine species used.
- Psychological effects may also occur, including increased sense of anxiety, nervousness, or agitation.
Because of the stimulative effects, it is cautioned that individuals who want to use ephedra gerardiana tea or extract do not combine with other stimulative ingredients. Some of those ingredients include but are not limited to Bitter Orange and caffeine.
Overuse of stimulants can contribute to toxicity, or at the very least affect the primary and otherwise normal functions of the heart. Common side effects associated with over use or misuse of ephedra gerardiana and other potent species of this herb include:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Heart palpitations
Increased potential of severe and adverse events are also possible including heart attack, seizures, and strokes.
- Keith Cleversley. Ephedra gerardiana – Somalata. Entheology.com. 2002
- Gurley BJ, Wang P., Gardner SF. Ephedrine-type alkaloid content of nutritional supplements containing Ephedra sinica (Ma-huang) as determined by high performance liquid chromatography. J Pharm Sci. 1998 Dec;87(12):1547-53.