Although Mormon tea has been traditionally used to treat a number of health conditions, till date there has been no research that corroborates the remedial uses of this herb in folk medicine. An herbal tea prepared from the branches of the Ephedra nevadensis plant is still used as a favourite beverage to quench thirst. While not even a trace of ephedrine is present in the American ephedras, advocates of Mormon tea claim that, very similar to ma huang, its Chinese relative has rich ephedrine content, this beverage works in the form of a medication for asthma as well as decongestant. In the desert regions, where this herb is found growing naturally, people chew a small piece of the herb's twig to alleviate the pain caused by sunburned lips. The stems of Mormon tea or Ephedra nevadensis plants possess diuretic, tonic, blood purifying as well as febrifuge (any medication that helps to reduce fever) properties. In addition, Mormon tea is also useful for treating urogenital problems. In folk medicine, an infusion prepared with the herb has been used to cure kidney disorders, gonorrhea as well as the primary stages of syphilis. A poultice prepared with the powdered stem of Ephedra nevadensis is applied externally to heal sores. It may be noted that the stems of majority of the plants belonging to this genus enclose alkaloid ephedrine and are considered to be valuable in treating conditions like asthma as well as several problems related to the respiratory tract. Instead of using the isolated elements of this herb or different from using isolated ephedrine, using low concentrations of the whole Ephedra nevadensis plant are unlikely to result in any adverse side effects. It needs to be underlined here that the herb Ephedra does not heal asthma, but in several instances it may prove to be extremely effectual in curing the symptoms related to asthma and thereby making life rather more comfortable for the patients. The stems of this plant may be used either fresh or dried and are generally brewed to prepare a tea. However, these stems may also be consumed raw. It is best if you consume the tender stems of Ephedra nevadensis, while the older stems may be brewed into a tea. The stems of Ephedra nevadensis can be harvested throughout the year and dried up for use when necessary. There was a time when the indigenous people of America used Mormon tea in the form of a food as well as a remedy. In fact, it was the Mormons who used this beverage simply in the form of an herbal tea. In present times, the major use of Ephedra nevadensis or Mormon tea is in the form of forage for cattle and sheep, although it is not beneficial for horses. In addition, this herb is also used to restore habitation. Occasionally, Mormon tea or Ephedra nevadensis is also cultivated for decorative purposes.
Mormon tea is indigenous to the south western regions of the United States and adjoining areas of Mexico. This herb requires a loamy soil with perfect drainage and a sunlit position to thrive well. Once the plants are established they can endure drought and also tolerate limey soil conditions. If you desire to obtain the seeds of this herb, you need to grow the male and female plants together and close to each other. Mormon tea or Ephedra nevadensis is primarily propagated by its seeds, which ought to be ideally sown in a greenhouse immediately when they are ripe. Alternately, the seeds may also be sown in sandy compost in a greenhouse during spring. As soon as they have grown big enough to be handled, the young seedlings should be pricked individually and planted in separate pots and allow to grow in the greenhouse for a minimum duration till their first winter is over. The young plants may be transplanted in their permanent positions outdoors following the last expected date of frost in your region has passed. In addition, the young plants require some shielding from the cold and frost during their first winter outdoors. Mormon tea may also be propagated by means of root division either during spring or in autumn.
Very little information is available regarding whether drinking Mormon tea is safe when used therapeutically. However, people using this herb or intend to use it ought to be aware of its probable side effects. Drinking Mormon tea may result in stomach disorders, liver damage, augmented urination, constipation and even throat and nose cancer. Women should never use Mormon tea during pregnancy or when they are breast feeding.
Mormon tea encloses tannins that give it an astringent flavour as well as effect, thereby enabling to lessen the secretions of the body, for instance mucus. However, as of now, there is very little information regarding the manner in which Mormon tea may possibly work in curing health conditions, such as kidney disorders as well as the sexually transmitted diseases - syphilis and gonorrhea.