Ephedra distachya is a shrub in the family Ephedraceae, about 25 cm to 50 cm high, that grows in southern and central Europe and parts of western and central Asia from Portugal to Kazakhstan. Its local names include somlatha.
- Ephedra distachya subsp. distachya - central + southern Europe, southwestern + central Asia
- Ephedra distachya subsp. helvetica (C.A.Mey.) Asch. & Graebn. - Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria
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, as described in the Avesta and the Rig Veda, the respective ancient sacred texts of the Zoroastrian and Hindu faiths.
Ephedrine, an alkaloid, is obtained from its dried branches and is used as a stimulant, often to control asthma. It was isolated from the plant by Nagayoshi Nagai in 1885. All parts of the plant contain up to 3% ephedrine.
- "Ephedra distachya information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Altervista Flora Italiana, Efedra distachia, Ephedra distachya L.
- "Meerträubel (Ephedra distachya) im GIFTPFLANZEN.COMpendium - www.giftpflanzen.com". www.giftpflanzen.com. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
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- Gymnosperm Database: Ephedra distachya. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
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