Sea ravages

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sea ravages
Ephedra fragilis in Mallorca

Ephedra fragilis in Mallorca

Department : Vascular plants (tracheophyta)
Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Coniferopsida
Order : Gnetales
Family : Sea shrub family (Ephedraceae)
Genre : Sea ravages
Scientific name

Ephedra ( Ephedra [ eːfɛdra ], from gr. Ἐφέδρα ephedra "ponytail") is the only genus of the plant family of Meerträubelgewächse (Ephedraceae) within the order Gnetales . This genus has a disjoint area with each part of the 35 to 70 species in the Old World and the New World .


Illustration of the common sea ravage ( Ephedra distachya )
Illustration from Botany , 1871 from Ephedra antisyphilitica
Seeds of Ephedra foliata

Vegetative characteristics

Sea crow species are woody plants: mostly cane bushes , sometimes climbing plants. The opposite or threes quirlig arranged sheets are imbricated reduced. The photosynthesis take the branched, greenish branches.

Generative characteristics

The flowers are always unisexual. Most of the species are dioecious ( dioecious ), rarely the flowers monoecious ( monoecious ) separate sexes. The male cones stand individually or in twos or threes at the nodes (nodes). In the male cones, the membranous bracts stand in two to eight whorls in pairs or in threes. The female cones are opposite to each other or three to four in whorls in the nodes. In the female cones, the overlapping bracts stand in two to ten whorls in pairs or threes. The bracts usually become fleshy and red when the seeds are ripe (they rarely remain membranous and turn brownish). The female flowers have a pair of overgrown, leathery scales. The sea robbers are counted among the naked men; their ovules are therefore not protected by carpels. One to three yellow to dark brown seeds are formed per cone .

Distribution of the genus ephedra . Sea ravages are also found in the Sahel region of Africa (e.g. Ephedra altissima ) and in southern Brazil (e.g. Ephedra tweedieana ).
Andean sea pigeon ( Ephedra americana ) on the site in Chile
Nebroden Sea Crow ( Ephedra major ) in Karwachar
Branch with female cones of Ephedra antisyphilitica
Male cones of Ephedra aspera
Common crayfish ( Ephedra distachya ), male plant flowering on site in Russia
Ripe fleshy female cones of the common sea pear ( Ephedra distachya )
Rhizome of the common seaweed ( Ephedra distachya )
Male cones of Ephedra foeminea
Male cones of Ephedra fragilis
Ephedra nevadensis in California
Ephedra torreyana in habitat in Nevada
Male cones of Ephedra viridis

Systematics and distribution

The genus Ephedra was established by Carl von Linné . The scientific name Ephedra was coined by the ancient Greek author Dioscurides . However, it is not clear whether this actually meant ephedra or not a horsetail . Ephedra is often confused with horsetail or gorse species because it is similar at first glance . A synonym for Ephedra L. is Chaetocladus J. Nelson

The genus Ephedra has a disjoint area : It is found in the Old World from the Amur region via Arabia to Portugal , but also in North Africa, in Eastern Africa and on the Canary Islands ; in the New World in parts of the United States , Mexico, and South America . They usually thrive in arid areas, on sand or rocks, they are rarely found in grasslands . There are 35 to 70 species of ephedra worldwide . 21 species occur in Eurasia , 14 of them in China. Twelve species are native to the USA, five of which are also found in Mexico; only one of these five species also grows in Argentina and Chile.

There are about 70 types of ephedra :


Edible female cones of Ephedra dahurica from Mongolia

Types of ephedra mostly, but not always, contain cardiovascular alkaloids such as ephedrine , norephedrine , pseudoephedrine , norpseudoephedrine , methylephedrine and methylpseudoephedrine. The chemical structure of these phenylethylamines is similar to that of adrenaline . Due to their stimulating effect , the potential for dependence is increased; Ephedrine therefore requires a prescription. The active ingredient content differs from plant to plant, but also from one season to another. Contents of 0.5 to 49 mg total alkaloids per 1 g of various ephedra preparations were found in various studies. The two main alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine made up 70 to 99 percent of the total alkaloid content. The ephedrine content was between 0 and 90 percent of the total alkaloid content, the pseudoephedrine content between 0.1 and 99 percent.

The concentrations of the ephedra alkaloids were investigated for the following species (selection); the concentrations are given in mg per 1 g of ephedra preparation:

Ephedra style Ephedra alkaloids
Ephedra sinica 10-42 mg / g
Ephedra equisetina 22-49 mg / g
Ephedra intermedia 5-18 mg / g
Ephedra distachya no information
Ephedra Regeliana 20-32 mg / g
Ephedra major no information
Ephedra monosperma 28 mg / g
Ephedra lomatolepis 13.6 mg / g


The names of the drug are, for example, seaweed, ephedra herb, ephedrae herba. The drug is a pharmaceutical drug monographed in the European Pharmacopoeia with a total alkaloid content of 1 to 2% on average, which can, however, fluctuate widely. Ephedra herb extracts (tea) are indicated for respiratory diseases with mild bronchospasm , but the broncholytic effectiveness is uncertain. Ephedra herb can no longer be purchased in German pharmacies without a prescription, since ephedra species and their preparations were included in the Medicines Prescription Ordinance with effect from April 1, 2006 and thus became a prescription. Ephedra (sea beasts) also falls into category 1 of the Basic Substance Monitoring Act (GÜG), since the ephedrine it contains serves as a starting material for the illegal chemical synthesis of methamphetamine ( meth ), a drug with a high potential for dependence and toxic effects. In Europe, ephedra herb was first mentioned in Adam Lonitzer's book of herbs in 1557 .

"Mormon tea" is an infusion from the shoot axes of Ephedra nevadensis , which, when infused with an acidifier such as lemon juice , contains a considerable amount of ephedrine . The name comes from the former usage among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called " Mormons "), who are prohibited from drinking coffee and black tea in addition to alcohol .

As "Ma-Huang" ( 麻黃 ), ephedra herb is one of the remedies of choice in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the treatment of lung diseases or colds. It is usually combined with other medicinal herbs and used as a decoction .


Individual evidence

  1. a b Meerträubel at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, accessed on May 4, 2019.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Ephedra. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  3. a b c d e f Christopher J. Earle: Ephedraceae - Ephedra - Online. at The Gymnosperm Database , 2013. Last accessed August 31, 2014
  4. a b c d Walter Erhardt , Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: The great pikeperch. Encyclopedia of Plant Names. Volume 2. Types and varieties. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7 .
  5. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dennis Wm. Stevenson: Ephedraceae. - Same text online as the printed work , In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Ed.): Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 2: Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms , Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1993, ISBN 0-19-508242-7 .
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Liguo Fu, Yong-fu Yu, Harald Riedl: Ephedraceae. , P. 97 - online with the same text as the printed work , In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China. Volume 4: Cycadaceae through Fagaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, 1999, ISBN 0-915279-70-3 .
  7. YP Sharma, PL Uniyal, O. Hammer: Two new species of Ephedra (Ephedraceae) from the western Himalayan Region. In: Systematic Botany , Volume 35, 2010, p. 730.
  8. a b Federal Institute for Risk Assessment : Risk Assessment of Plants and Herbal Preparations, Ephedra spp. (Meerträubel species) (PDF; 1.8 MB), pp. 223–239, Berlin 2012, ISBN 3-938163-76-3 .
  9. Ordinance of the Federal Ministry for Health and Social Security and the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture - Ordinance on the reorganization of the prescription requirement for medicinal products .
  10. Bert Marco Schuldes: Psychoactive Plants , Nachtschatten Verlag, ISBN 3-925817-64-6 .
  11. Lutz Roth, Max Daunderer, Kurt Kormann: Toxic Plants, Plant Poisons. Occurrence, effect, therapy; allergic and phototoxic reactions. 3rd revised and expanded edition. ecomed, Landsberg 1988, ISBN 3-609-64810-4 .
  12. EA Abourashed et al .: ephedra in perspective - A current review. In: Phytother. Res. , Vol. 17, 2003, pp. 703-712. PMID 12916063 doi : 10.1002 / ptr.1337
  13. 中藥材 圖像 數據庫 - 麻黃 Mahuang. In: School of Chinese Medicine - Retrieved November 1, 2015 (Chinese).

Web links

Commons : Ephedraceae  - collection of images, videos, and audio files