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ephedra

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noun ephe·dra \i-ˈfe-drə, ˈe-fə-drə\

Definition of ephedra

  1. 1 :  any of a genus (Ephedra of the family Ephedraceae) of jointed nearly leafless shrubs of dry or desert regions with the leaves reduced to scales at the nodes

  2. 2 :  an extract of ma huang containing ephedrine and related alkaloids and used as a dietary supplement



Origin and Etymology of ephedra

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, equisetum, from Greek, from ephedros sitting upon, from epi- + hedra seat — more at sit


First Known Use: circa 1889


Medical Dictionary

ephedra

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noun ephed·ra \i-ˈfed-rə, ˈef-əd-rə\

Medical Definition of ephedra

  1. 1a capitalized :  a large genus of gymnospermous shrubs (family Gnetaceae) of dry or desert regions with jointed stems and leaves reduced to scalesb:  any plant of the genus Ephedra

  2. 2:  an extract of any of several Asian ephedras (especially E. sinica) that contains ephedrine and related alkaloids, was formerly used as a dietary supplement especially to promote weight loss and increase energy, and was banned in the U.S. by the FDA in 2004 due to adverse side effects <The FDA is also analyzing reports linking a weight-loss and energy supplement, ephedra (ma huang), to heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and fatalities in otherwise healthy adults.—Consumer Reports, May 2000>—called also ma huang




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