Shailja Choudhary, Gitika Chaudhary, Hemlata Kaurav*
Research and Development Department, Shuddhi Ayurveda, Jeena Sikho Lifecare Pvt. Ltd. Zirakpur 140603, Punjab, India
Shuddhi Ayurveda, Jeena Sikho Lifecare Pvt. Ltd. Zirakpur 140603, Punjab, India
Ephedra gerardiana (Ma-Huang) is a significant medicinal herb that belongs to the family Ephedraceae. There are about 73 species of Ephedra genus that are accepted as of June 2021. This plant is mostly found in dry rocks and sandy soil as its growth requires high and dry mountain deserts. The different parts of the plant such as branches, root, stem are used medicinally in various formulations practices. For example, the dried parts of the plant are used in various medicinal systems such as ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha and Chinese to cure variety of diseases such as asthma, nasal congestion, hay fever, inflammation or swelling, urinary disorders, cardiac disorders, cough, chills and cold. In Chinese medicinal system, the E. gerardiana plant is used for 5000 years to cure fever, asthma and nasal congestion. The active constituents of the plant i.e. ephedrine, nor-ephedrine and pseudoephedrine possess various therapeutic and pharmacological properties. These properties include anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-asthmatic, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, cardiovascular, diuretic and CNS stimulant activities. Ephedrine and nor-ephedrine alkaloid constituents of the E. gerardiana plant are used to completely eradicate the symptoms of hay fever and allergy. Also, the catechin and epicatechin constituents of the plant are used in various formulations of weight loss drinks and pills. Besides this, the pulp part of the plant is used as a source of food for birds and rodents and is also used in jam preparation. In this review article, attempts have been made to briefly describe the ayurvedic and folklore uses of the plant along with the general description of the plant.
Keywords: Somlata, Pharmacological properties, Ayurveda, Rasapanchak, Anti-inflammatory