Ephedra Root is the dried root and rhizome of Ephedra sinica Stapf or Ephedra intermedia Schrenk et C.A. Mey. (Fam. Ephedraceae). The drug is collected in the late autumn, removed from remains of stem, rootlet and soil, and dried in the sun.
Description Cylindrical, slightly curved, 8-25 cm long, 0.5-1.5 cm in diameter. Externally reddish-brown or greyish-brown, with longitudinal wrinkles and scars of rootlets. The outer bark rough, easily exfoliated. Rhizomes with nodes, internodes 0.7-2 cm long, externally with transversally elongated, prominent lenticels. Texture light, hard and fragile, fracture yellowish-white in bark, pale yellow to yellow in wood showing radial rays, with a pith in the centre. Odourless; taste, slightly bitter.
Identification Transverse section of root: Cork consisting of about 10 or more layers of cells, with rhytidome outside. Cortex consisting of several layers of parenchymatous cells, containing sand crystals of calcium oxalate. Pericycle consisting of fibres and stone cells. Phloem narrow. Cambium in a ring. Xylem well developed, consisting of vessels, tracheids and xylem fibres; rays broad, containing sand crystals of calcium oxalate. Sometimes pith with fibres; parenchymatous cells with pits. Rays of rhizome relatively narrow.
Powder: Brownish-red or brownish-yellow. Cork cells rectangular, brown, containing sand crystals of calcium oxalate. Most fibres scattered singly, 20-25 mm in diameter, walls thickened and lignified, with distinct oblique pits. Spiral and reticulated vessels, 30-50 mm in diameter, the perforated plate of vessel members with numerous rounded pores. Stone cells, oblong, fibrous and branched, 20-50 mm in diameter, thick-walled sometimes observed. Parenchymatous cells in pith subsquare, subrectangular or subrounded, walls slightly thickened, with pits. Parenchymatous cells containing sand crystals of calcium oxalate.
Processing Eliminate foreign matter, wash clean, soften thoroughly, cut into thick slices, and dry.
Action To arrest perspiration.
Indication Spontaneous sweating, night sweating.
Usage and dosage 3-9 g; for external use, appropriate quantity to be ground into powder and dabbered on the skin.
Storage Preserve in a dry place.