20091018

Ephedra


Ephedra
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I tried collecting some mormon tea again this morning to experience the effects of ephedra. The local stuff leaves me in a slightly stimulated state with a higher level of concentration. I find that taking caffeine in combination with the mormon tea greatly increases the potency. Apparently the North American mormon tea plants are missing some important alkaloids. Regardless making a simple tea does yield a minor stimulation and is supposed to be good for headaches, colds, asthma and other breathing related ailments. I simply mix the stems with some hot water and let it steep for 30 minutes. Adding a bit of tea to help with the flavor is a good idea. I used hibiscus today.

Ephedra #2 Ephedra #3

1 comment:

Joseph j7uy5 said...

I've been curious about the neurochemistry of local ephedra for a while, so when I saw your post, I decided to investigate further.

The Ephedra species we have in New Mexico is Ephedra navadensis. It contains 6-OH-kynurenic acid; some varieties also contain (2S,1'S,2'R)-2-(carboxycyclopropyl)glycine
(aka L-CCGIII) and/or kynurenic acid (aka KNYA). KYNA does not cross the blood-brain barrier very well, so I assume that most of the effect is due to L-CCGIII and 6-OH-KYNA.

E. navadensis does not contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, so it does not have the problems associated with those compounds.

This is not as simple as it may seem at first. I was not able to find a good concise summary of the effects that one would expect. It appears that some of the compounds in E. navadensis block the excitatory effect of glutamate (an amino acid that also acts as a neurotransmitter, and which is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain). They also increase the release of dopamine in the midbrain, and have effects on blocking certain nicotine receptors and regulating serotonin and GABA.

This is mostly gathered from indirect evidence. I was not able to find any studies that used Ephedra navadensis in humans, which is what you would need to have a solid understanding of the actions of this plant on humans. Plus, smoking it produces a lot of changes in the chemistry, so that would have to be studied specifically.