Ephedra Trifurca (Longleaf Jointfir) Uses, Benefits & Side Effects
Ephedra Trifurca is a lesser-known species of the Ephedra plant that grows in the southwestern United States and in northwestern Mexico.
This shrub has long been used in traditional plant remedies for its energizing and invigorating properties. It is sometimes prepared into a beverage known as Mexican Tea.
Can you use Ephedra Trifurca as a replacement for the Chinese Ma Huang (Ephedra Sinica) species sometimes referred to as “real ephedra”? Does this plant contain ephedrine alkaloids and can it be used for weight loss?
Over 60 species of ephedra have been identified and studied today. They’re known by a number of nicknames, synonyms, and plant names based on country of origin.
Telling them apart can sometimes be difficult as they look similar in nature. The main different is in the alkaloid content of the plants as it is these components which determine how effective it will be for any proposed medical use.
Before considering use or looking for Ephedra Trifurca for any health benefits or for non-medicinal purposes such as its potential to aid in weight loss or fat burn, know the basics about the plant: where it grows, what it contains, and whether it will provide any of the benefits you’re looking for. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedra Trifurca Review
Ephedra Trifurca is commonly known, at least in the United States where it’s a native plant, as Mexican tea or longleaf jointfir.
The Ephedra Trifurca species grows in the southwestern United States and into northwestern Mexico. The geographical location provides the environment in which it thrives: hot, arid, and somewhat rocky desert soil.
Even within the southwest, the plant was known by a number of different names such as Mormon tea, Tea Weed, and Canutillo, identifiable by its long, reed-like stalks and yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. Today, the plant is commonly used in landscaping for properties ranging from Texas to California.
As with other ephedra species, the Ephedra Trifurca species has been used by indigenous people in the area as well as ranchers and pioneers to make a tea or coffee-like brew.
This drink which was often referred to as Mexican Tea was perceived to provide a number of medicinal benefits, most commonly as a “pick me up” or stimulant type product similar to coffee.
The native plant grows from Texas to western New Mexico, Arizona, California, and down into Baja California and northwestern Mexico. The shrub can grow up to six feet, although it can take 20 years to do so.
How is it used? When grown in yards throughout the Southwest, many homeowners pluck off the stems and leaves of the Ephedra Trifurca plant and steep it into a tea beverage (one heaping teaspoon of the broken and dried branches per cup of water).
Those enjoying the brew state that it tastes similar to green tea. Others claim the taste is unpleasantly bitter. Others grind the ephedra twigs and then use it as an exfoliant on the skin due to the high content of silica in this species.
It is relatively easy to buy seeds for this plant from online suppliers and the raw herb is legal to purchase from traditional herbalists for use in natural remedies.
Uses and Ephedrine Content
In modern usage, ephedra plants are deemed beneficial that contain alkaloids such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which act as stimulants on the central nervous system.
Such components have the ability to constrict blood vessels, increase blood pressure, and promote a faster heartbeat. It’s also known to widen airways and nasal passages, facilitating increased oxygen intake.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine can also act as appetite suppressants, which may support fat loss diets. Sensitivity and tolerance of such components can influence how a person benefits (or not) from brews made with the Ephedra Trifurca plant.
Among the active compounds found in Ephedra Trifurca are several of the alkaloids deemed most beneficial for dieters and athletes when it comes to ephedra. Those compounds include ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine.
In this regard, the Ephedra Trifurca species does join many other species as being considered relatively potent, but the milligram strength of the ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine levels of American versions of ephedra including trifurca vary.
The alkaloid components of most American species are significantly lower than those found in the more potent of the species including ephedra major and ephedra fragilis.
Making Your Own Ephedra Trifurca Tea
Individuals living in the Southwest have a number of options when it comes to naturally growing ephedra species in the region. In pioneer days, travelers, ranchers, and cowboys often broke off twigs and leaves of native ephedra plants, dried them, and then crumpled them up and created a brew commonly known as Mormon tea, Cowboy tea, Squaw tea, or Mexican tea.
Such brews provided a stimulative effect similar to that of caffeine. When coffee was in short supply, it was not uncommon for natives as well as landowners or travelers to turn to the ephedra plant as a substitute.
While not rated as the most potent variety of the herb, individuals consuming Ephedra Trifurca in any form also have the potential to experience a number of effects. Not all of them are good.
Potential Side Effects
Ephedra in its pure form – even in species with lower levels of its primary alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine – has the potential to promote a surge of metabolism, a racing heart, and a sense of jittery energy that many dieters and athletes are looking for to improve weight loss.
However, a number of negative side effects are also possible, depending on strength, potency, frequency of use, and length of use. Like caffeine, too much of any stimulant can cause negative cardiovascular effects.
Ephedrine, even in small amounts, triggers the activity of the central nervous system, increases blood pressure and affects the heart, causing it to pump harder and faster. For this reason, individuals might experience:
- Heart palpitations
- Tachycardia (accelerated heart rate)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased sense of nervousness or anxiety
Some of the side effects are temporary, while others can be more serious depending on length of use. Because of its primary effect on cardiovascular function, individuals interested in growing their own Ephedra Trifurca plant, or using other forms of the ephedra found in supplements today, should proceed with caution.
The stimulating effects caused by Ephedra Trifurca tea or similar brews should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women, as well as individuals diagnosed with any cardiac issues. Those taking prescription, over-the-counter drugs, or even herbal remedies for treatments should be aware of potential for interactions.
While Ephedra Trifurca may seem innocent and non-harmful to some, always use with caution and start with small amounts to determine how your body reacts to its effects. The same is true for any ephedra diet pills or weight loss supplements you are considering.