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


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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