More than 40 species of genus Ephedra
More than 40 species of genus Ephedra (family; Ephedraceae) are widely disseminated to Europe, Africa, Western and central Asia, northern China and western South America. Ephedra intermedia, E. sinica, and E. equisetina species are found in scorched areas of Baluchistan (Pakistan) 1.
Ephedra, also known as Ma-Huang, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of nasal congestion, asthma cough, hay fever, allergic complaints, chills, colds and flu, fever, headaches, bone pain, nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing or other respiratory problems. The reported pharmacological studies revealed that Ephedra species possessed antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, stimulant, diaphoretic, antidote, anti-asthmatic, anti-pyretic, antiviral, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective, CNS and cardiovascular effects. Ephedra is used in many over-the-counter weight loss products. Ephedra is a source of Ephedrine, a sympathomimetic amine, which directly and indirectly acts on the adrenergic receptor (3, 4). Ephedra species contain alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, nor pseudo ephedrine, methyl ephedrine, and methyl pseudoephedrine. Phenolic compounds included chlorogenic acid, rutin, catechin, quercetin, coumaric acid, and flavonoids. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are the active constituents of Ephedra (2). The present study was aimed to evaluate the Pharmacognostical parameters such as macroscopic, microscopic and phytochemical studies of ephedra stem.