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Ephedra vulgaris

Ephedra vulgaris Rich. or Ephedra distachya L. is a shrub of the family Gnetaceae[?] or Ephedraceae, about 25 cm to 50 cm high, that grows in Asia and Japan. Its local names include somlatha and Ma Huang. It is used to relieve acute muscular and rheumatic pains (when it is called teamsters' tea), as a stimulant, and in the cardio tonics in Ayurveda. It is sometimes identified with the legendary drug soma, which appears in the early Persian and Hindu sacred writings, the Avesta and the Rig Veda.

Ephedrine, the salt of an alkaloid, is obtained from its dried branches and is used to control asthma.

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