ephe·​dra | \ i-ˈfe-drə How to pronounce ephedra (audio) , ˈe-fə-drə How to pronounce ephedra (audio) \

Definition of ephedra

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

Examples of ephedra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every morning and evening, the 38-year-old was handed a bag of brown soup -- a traditional Chinese remedy blended from over 20 herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root. Nectar Gan And Yong Xiong, CNN, 14 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, farmers tell him, the price of ephedra leaves has tripled in a year. The Economist, 5 Sep. 2019 Afghanistan’s innovative producers are not the first to use ephedra to make meth. The Economist, 5 Sep. 2019 But no one knows for sure where ephedra is being farmed in Afghanistan or in what quantities. The Economist, 5 Sep. 2019 Additionally, 34 people died from exposure to dietary supplements during the study period — six from ma huang or ephedra, three from homeopathic agents, and one from yohimbe, CNN reports. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, 24 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ephedra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ephedra

circa 1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ephedra

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ephedra

Time Traveler for ephedra

Time Traveler

The first known use of ephedra was circa 1889

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ephedra




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ephedra

Cite this Entry

“Ephedra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ephedra. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ephedra


ephed·​ra | \ i-ˈfed-rə How to pronounce ephedra (audio) , ˈef-əd-rə How to pronounce ephedra (audio) \

Medical Definition of ephedra

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ephedra

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ephedra


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!