Sida Cordifolia Extract Ephedrine Content & Medicinal Uses
The Sida Cordifolia plant is a medicinal herb that is used in Ayurvedic medicine to provide relief from asthma, bronchitis and nasal congestion.
This perennial shrub is a member of the mallow family of plants. It is native to India but has been naturalized to other parts of the world including the United States, Africa and Australia.
Athletes and bodybuilders often seek out Sida Cordifolia extract because it is a source of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine alkaloids. While not a member of the ephedra plant family, this herb does produce some of the same effects.
Ephedrine is a psychostimulant that increases activation of the central nervous system. It increases heart rate, circulation, blood oxygenation and promotes a faster metabolism.
Does use of Sida Cordifolia promote weight loss and increase athletic performance? This article will discuss the properties of this plant, its medicinal use, how to take it and the risk of side effects. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Sida Cordifolia is a flowering shrub known by a number of names including:
- Country Mallow
- Flannel Weed
In many parts of the world, it is viewed as a weed and an invasive species. This plant is related to ma huang (Ephedra Sinica) but belongs to a different genus.
Sida Cordifolia is a member of the Malvaceae plant family. Several of its components have been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
Of interest to many consumers the fact that Sida Cordifolia contains a stimulating alkaloid known as ephedrine. Its presence is primarily limited to the leaves and seeds of this plant.
The shrub tends to grow in semi-tropical and tropical regions throughout India and South America. Bala has a long history of use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and in South America. In Brazil, the plant is known as malva blanca.
Sida Cordifolia root extract has been used in native folk medicine to treat inflammation and relieve nasal and sinus congestion as well as a number of lung or respiratory issues.
According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, this plant has also been used for tuberculosis, colds, flu, headaches, lack of perspiration, edema, urinary infections, sciatica, chronic rheumatism, and more. It has also been used as an analgesic, tonic, stimulant, diuretic and aphrodisiac.
Sida Cordifolia Uses
Sida Cordifolia root has been used for many of the same conditions that the Ephedra Sinica species has been used for in traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditionally, the leaves of the plant were cooked and consumed as food. The whole plant would also be ground into a powder, mixed with juices or milk and used to treat urinary tract infections, improve erectile function, reduce stress and to help support liver function.
The plant contains only a small amount of ephedrine in comparison to Ma Huang. Research analysis suggests that it provides one-fourth the amount of ephedrine alkaloids compared to the E. Sinica plant.
In Ayurvedic medicine, portions of the plant are used as a liquid tonic to stimulate Vata, or the nervous system. It is purported to enhance blood circulation, stimulate adequate cellular nourishment and boost immune system function.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine (TAM), components of the plant have been used for nerve issues as well as respiratory issues such as asthma, allergies, and bronchitis. It’ has also been used to treat injuries and bone pain, including osteoarthritis.
Scientific research has determined that Sida species found in China, India, Africa, and America, may contain approximately 140 chemical compounds including flavonoids, fatty oils, steroidal saponins and alkaloids. 
In addition to the ephedrine content, Sida Cordifolia contains a number of stimulative and medicinal components. Researchers have found it to contain: sterculic acid, malvalic and coronaric acid, pseudoephedrine, fatty acid, saponine, hypaphorine, ecdysterone, indole alkaloids, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ole-beta-sitosterol.
Ephedrine is a stimulant mainly used as a bronchodilator. It can help to dilate nasal passages and airways in the lungs to improve oxygen intake. However, this beta-2 adrenergic agonist also has the potential for serious side effects when overused.
Beta-phenethylamine (Beta-PEA) behaves as a monoamine that is often used by athletes to improve performance and to boost weight loss results. It has a strong mood-enhancing effect.
Choline is a dietary nutrient used to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It also plays a role in the transportation of fats through the body.
Betaine is a popular supplement today marketed for its ability to aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as to promote healthy gut bacteria.
Sida Cordifolia extract has not been well researched. Some studies have examined its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects as well as its use for traditional Chinese or Indian medicine practices. More research is needed to understand how it works in the body.
Sida Cordifolia for Weight Loss
Can you use this plant extract as a substitute for ephedra to promote weight loss? Recently, it has become difficult to acquire ephedra extracts in many parts of the world.
Country mallow or Sida Cordifolia is sometimes used as a substitute because it can provide a source of ephedrine alkaloids. This stimulant has been shown to boost metabolism, increase energy levels and promote fat burning.
However, there have not been any specific studies on the efficacy of Sida Cordifolia for weight loss. No large, double-blind, or placebo-controlled studies on weight-loss or athletic performance enhancement have been reported in medical journals or online databases to date.
The potential fat loss effects are only presumed due to the presence of ephedrine, which behaves in a similar manner to amphetamine. Ephedrine has been shown to support weight loss when used in isolation, but the results will depend on how it is taken.
A number of dietary supplements have promoted Sida extract in formulas designed to help individuals lose weight. However, the ephedrine content in this plant may be too low to promote significant results.
In research studies, Sida Cordifolia plant extracts have not been shown to significantly increase CNS stimulation or energy levels. In a rat study, this plant was found to decrease blood pressure and heart rate.
Research does show it has a hypoglycemic effect, meaning it can help to lower blood sugar levels and may improve insulin sensitivity.
This could contribute to weight loss by preventing the storage of fat in the body and helping to prevent hyperinsulinemia. However, you should not take Sida Cordifolia expecting the same thermogenic effect as ephedra supplements.
The actual ephedrine and pseudoephedrine content found the leaves is less than 2%. Most preparations of this plant use the root and not the leaves. Therapeutic uses of the roots, the seeds, and the bark are varied. 
Where Can I Buy Sida Cordifolia Online?
Country Mallow extract, raw Sida Cordifolia or Bala powder is available from a number of online sellers that specialize in Ayurvedic remedies.
Online sites such as Amazon also provide some options, among them Bala powder, liquid extract and concentrated herbal tinctures.
A number of products labeled as Country Mallow, Bala, or Sida Cordifolia are also available on eBay. Product listings range from the flower seeds to liquid extracts of the dried leaf and stems to capsules made with the powder.
Sources for many of these products are outside of the United States such as India, Thailand, and even the Netherlands. The majority of vendors are based in India and prices range from less than $10 and up to $90, some offering free international shipping.
Sida Cordifolia is not available as a dietary supplement ingredient in the United States. In 2004, the FDA banned the sale of supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids due to the risk of side effects. However, this ban does not cover herbal preparations used in traditional medicine.
Recommendations for Use
Depending on where you live, different forms of this plant extract may be available to you. Follow instructions found on the label for the specific product you are taking as dosages and extract concentrations can vary.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Sida Cordifolia is typically found in oils or tonic formulas and topical preparations to be used externally.
Liquid extracts are typically mixed with water, milk or juice. One Bala liquid tincture found online recommends 25 to 30 drops mixed with 2 ounces of juice or water three times daily. This specific product comes in a two-fluid-ounce bottle and contains certified organic Sida Cordifolia made from dried leaves and stems of the shrub.
Another product found on Amazon, marketed as Bala herbal powder (for external use only), suggests using 3 to 6 g in ointments, pastes, or oils to be rubbed on the skin.
There are no standardized dosage guidelines available for use of this product. Consult with a doctor or qualified practitioner before using this plant extract to determine whether it is appropriate for you.
Negative Side Effects
A number of side effects have been linked to Bala, including but not limited to:
- Increased sense of irritability
- Loss of concentration/focus/memory
- Irregular heartbeat (faster or slower)
- Increased sense of nervousness
Misuse and abuse of any herbal product can contribute to a number of safety issues. Do not take more than the recommended amount and do not use this product for an extended period of time.
The actual ephedrine content in an entire Sida Cordifolia plant averages 0.085% to 0.112%. The seeds have been reported to consist of 0.32% of the alkaloid. 
Sources suggest that depending on which part of the plant is used, Sida extract contains one-fourth the amount of ephedrine per typical dose as the Chinese ephedra (Ma Huang) herb.
While it may promote a stimulatory effect, it is much less potent than the ephedra plant for weight loss. User reviews suggest that it is less stimulating than a typical cup of coffee.
Nevertheless, the adverse effects associated with ephedrine use may also occur when taking this product. Ephedra plant extracts have the potential to cause dangerous increases in blood pressure, arrhythmias, tachycardia, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, or death.
Some individuals may be more sensitive to the stimulant effects of this plant than others. Individuals diagnosed with any medical condition or who are taking prescription medications should always confer with their physician or pharmacist regarding interactions or contraindications of use.
Bala may have an effect on blood sugar (glucose) levels. Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes or who are taking medications that affect blood glucose metabolism should use caution. Do not combine this herb with stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications, QT-interval prolonging drugs, or ergot alkaloids.
Use of this herb in pregnant or nursing women is recommended against due to a lack of safety information.
Sida Cordifolia (Country Mallow or Bala) is a source of ephedrine but is not typically considered to be a powerful stimulant.
There is no research available to evaluate its use for weight loss or as an athletic performance enhancer. This herb has long been used as a traditional folk medicine in Ayurveda and is believed to promote a number of health benefits.
However, there is a risk of side effects and this plant extract may not be appropriate for everyone. Before taking Sida Cordifolia extract, consult with a doctor to learn more about dosage instructions and potential negative side effects.
- Dinda B, Das N, Dinda S, Dinda M, SilSarma I. The genus Sida L.- A traditional medicine: Its ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and pharmacological data for commercial exploitation in herbal drugs industry. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Dec 24;176:135-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.10.027. Epub 2015 Oct 21.
- Ankit Jain, Shreva Choubev, P.K. Singour, H. Raiak, R.S. Pawar. Sida Cordifolia (Linn) – An Overview. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 01 (02); 2011: 23-31
- Dr. Amrit Pal Singh, BAMS; PGDMB; MD. Bala (Sida Cordifolia L.) – Is it Safe Herbal Drug? Issued 22 December 2006.