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Friday, October 30, 2009

Ephedrine content of Sida plant

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Sida cardifolia was first reported to contain Ephedrine in 1930. It has been recommended by physicians in India as heart stimulant.

Earlier, it was known that Ephedra, an other plant of the Gymnosperm group contain a specific alkaloid Ephedrine. But current researches have revealed that Sida contained an equal amount of ephedrine as contained in Ephedra. Ephedra sp. is an herb with a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for asthma, bronchitis, allergies and cold and flu symptoms.According to a report – “During the 80s, ephedra became popular outside of traditional Chinese medicine for weight loss and to enhance sports performance. Its popularity continued to grow, and it was found in many nutritional supplements marketed for weight loss and performance enhancement until supplements containing ephedra were banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006.The primary active ingredients in ephedra are believed to be the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are thought to increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (which increases blood pressure), dilate bronchial tubes (which makes it easier to breathe) and have thermogenic properties (increases body heat and metabolic rate).”

A synthetic form of pseudoephedrine is found in over-the-counter decongestants and cold medicines, and synthetic ephedrine is used to treat asthma (but it has largely been replaced by newer medications). Synthetic ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have also been used to make the illicit street drug methamphetamine.

Though the whole plant of Sida has been reported to contain ephedrine, its seeds contain greater amount of the compound. Ephedrine tends to have an immediate effect on a number of body functions when consumed in any form. It causes an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure.

Ephedrine has also been reported to cause weight loss by burning fat. It increases metabolic rate of the body. Another alkaloid present in Sida extract is Vasicinone which is an effective bronchodialator.

A chemical analysis of the plant has revealed that leaves of Sida contained 74000 to 347000 ppm protein; 94,000 to 47,5000 ppm carbohydrate; 33,000 to 16,700 ppm ash. Roots of this plant have been reported to contain 450ppm alkaloids including ephedrine and saponine.

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