MORMON tea plant, JOINTFIR, Ephedra nevadensis
evergreen shrub known as Jointfir, or Mormon tea plant is native to south-western United States. As Mormons can not drink coffee because it is a stimulant (containing, as it does, caffeine) branches of this plant are used to make a tisane or tea, hence the name. The plant has no leaves as such, but has spiky green twigs, resembling a fir tree needles (eg common fir ). The flowers are reminiscent of those of the plant Greek mountain tea, and they bloom in April to late June. The fruit is a soft brown nutlet that can be cooked even though it has a bitter taste, and can be roasted and ground into flour for use in bread making. This plant belongs to the Ephedraceae family, so it is a close relative of the grape Sea ephedra distachya . Because it is in the genus Ephedra, it was supposed to have the same properties as other plants in that genus; but it seems that this is not the case. This plant contains no, or very few, ephedrine alkaloids, according to (EASA) The report by the European Food Standards Agency 2009. In that case, most of what has been written about psychoactive properties plants online is probably not true. Mormon tea is made taking the branches of the plant and infusing them to make a tea or tisane. Both fresh and dried twigs can be used, and for drying green twigs can be harvested at any time of year. Traditionally, the tea was made by Native Americans, who used it in medicine as a blood purifier, diuretic and lower body temperature during fevers. It is also used as a general tonic and kidney, urinary-genital problems and sexually transmitted diseases. The plant does not contain ephedrine, or at least not much, so all the literature on this compound does not apply to this particular member of genus Ephedra. The fruit of the plant can be eaten raw, although it is a bit bland but sweet, and twigs can be chewed to treat asthma symptoms but not the cause. This makes it easier breathing problems, but does not cure. There are rarely side effects if you drink in moderation Mormon tea, although you may experience some if you drink too much. The plant contains compounds, kynusenates, having antimicrobial properties, and is a very effective and due to this property diuretic, which can contribute to loss of weight.
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