Special Uses Cultivation details Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position[11]. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant[]. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, tolerating a few degrees of frost[]. The report on medicinal uses refers specifically to E. This plant is growing outdoors at Kew, probably planted in , and seems to be perfectly hardy[K].

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E-mail: ab. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The medicinal significance of Ephedra is based on the sympathomimetic properties of ephedrine E alkaloids.

Pharmacological effects depend on the phytocomposition of individual Ephedra species. The aim of this study was to measure the total alkaloids content TAC , total phenolics content TPC , and total flavonoids content TFC and determine their relationship in dry herb of Ephedra major, Ephedra distachya subsp. Nowadays, medicinal use of Ephedrae herba is limited, but the abuse of its psychostimulants is rising.

For the first time, ultra-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection UPLC-UV was used for separation and quantification of E-type alkaloids of various Ephedra species. The variable content and ratio between secondary metabolites determined in different Ephedra species reflects their metabolic activities. Utilization of UPLC-UV unveiled that this technique is sensitive, selective, and useful for separation and quantification of different alkaloids in complex biological matrixes.

The limit of detection was 5 ng. Application of UPLC-UV can be recommended in quick analyses of E-type alkaloids in forensic medicine and quality control of pharmaceutical preparations. It contains alkaloids of the ephedrine E -type which act as sympathomimetics.

The pharmacological and toxicological effects depend on the individual E alkaloid type, its enantiomeric form and receptor binding characteristics. Ephedrine stimulates the heart rate, increases blood pressure, promotes bronchodilatation, and exhibits pronounced effects on the central nervous system CNS by binding to adrenergic receptors. Today, there is a rising interest for the application of Ephedra in enhancing performance and appetite suppression [ 4 ].

According to the Food and Drug Administration FDA assessment in , food supplements containing E-type alkaloids represent an unacceptable health risk, bearing in mind the conditions of use. Consequently, FDA banned all over the counter drugs containing ephedrine. Reviews of human case reports described adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events as possibly associated with the use of dietary supplement preparations containing E-type alkaloids [ 2 ].

Additionally, E and PE are worldwide monitored as precursors for the chemical synthesis of the methamphetamine. Apart from consumer abuse, there is also manufacturer abuse, which is reflected in spiking of Ephedrae herba or its preparations with synthetic E alkaloids.

Therefore, the identity and origin of the alkaloids in herbal preparations is often questionable and analytical methods which ensure and verify safety and quality control are of high importance and require improvements. The phytochemical composition of various Ephedra species is not completely elucidated.

Secondary metabolites originating from Ephedra species comprise alkaloids, amino acids and derivatives, volatiles, and phenolic compounds [ 5 ]. Ephedra species contain alkaloids of biological relevance: E, PE, norephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, methylephedrine, and methylpseudoephedrine.

Beside the E-type alkaloids, ephedroxane, and macrocyclic spermidines called Ephedradine A-D, have been found in some Eurasian Ephedra species [ 5 ]. Other phytochemical compounds include kynurenates, citric, malic and oxalic acid [ 6 ], saponins, crystals of calcium oxalate, and trace minerals.

According to several reports, volatile compounds present in this plant are mainly represented by terpenoids and may be used as chemotaxonomic markers [ 7 - 9 ].

Phenolic compounds and their most important subgroup flavonoids are aromatic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom. They are present in the phytochemical composition of Ephedra, however, to our best knowledge, literature lacks data on their total contents in the majority of the Ephedra species used in this study. Therefore, the aim of the study is to determine the total alkaloids content TAC , total phenolics content TPC and total flavonoids content TFC and their ratio in different Ephedra species using spectrophotometric methods; to quantify E and PE, as well as to separate individual E-type alkaloids using ultra-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection UPLC-UV.

Additionally, the objective is to recommend and justify UPLC-UV as a method for quick analyses in forensic medicine in cases when it is necessary to prove the presence or absence of E-type alkaloids. Possessing Ephedra species, which are avoid of E alkaloids is not considered illicit as opposed to species, which contain E alkaloids. The quantitative data can be used in quality control of herbal and synthetic drugs containing E alkaloids which is essential for ensuring their safety and efficacy.

Racz and F. Ephedra distachya subsp. Ephedra foeminea Forssk. Ephedra monosperma J. Ephedra alata Decne. Ephedra altissima Desf.

Ephedra foliata Boiss. Chemicals Methanol min. The stock solution was further diluted 0. Sample preparation Finely ground, dried plant material 0. The supernatants were used for the analysis. The solution was left to stand for 0. Determination of TFC The aluminum chloride colorimetric method was used for flavonoids determination [ 11 ]. Chemicals Aluminum hexahydrate p. Preparation of the standard solution Quercetin standard 30 mg was dissolved in ml water HPLC grade.

This stock solution was used to prepare serial dilutions 0. Sample preparation Samples are prepared in the same way as described in determination of total phenolics. Procedure Each of the plant extracts was separately mixed with 1. Determination of TAC The determination of total alkaloids is based on the reaction with ninhydrin, a strong oxidative agent that reacts with amino acids and yields a violet-blue product, which has the maximum absorption at nm.

Chemicals Ninydrin p. Preparation of working solutions and the standard curve On analytical balance 2 g of ninhydrin was weighed, then dissolved in 3 ml ethanol, diluted with water to ml, adjusted to pH 7. The E standard was prepared by dissolving 5 mg of the standard in 25 ml water.

The standard curve had a concentration range between 0. Absorbance was measured at nm. Sample preparation On analytical balance 1 g of finely ground dried plant material was weighed, put into an Erlenmeyer flask, added 20 ml of hydrochloric acid 6.

The mixture was sonicated for 15 minutes. The solid residue was allowed to settle and filtrated. Ephedrine alkaloids were extracted by adding 20 ml of dichloromethane. Sodium lauryl sulfate, an ion-pairing agent, was added to the mobile phase to achieve a final concentration of 5 mM.

The mobile phase was delivered at a flow-rate of 0. Standard preparation E-hydrochloride standard 5. From that solution, 10 ml were taken and diluted with methanol up to 20 ml. PE hydrochloride was weighed 5.

Validation of quantification E and PE calibration standards were used for the validation of the quantification. Standard curves were obtained by using the area of the peak and the concentration of the corresponding standard.

The retention times tR were 3. Sample preparation The extracting solution consisted of 0. Dry and finely grounded plant material mg was suspended in 5 ml of that solution, allowed to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature and then sonicated for 25 minutes.

The extracts were centrifuged, rpm for 5 minutes, supernatants filtrated membrane filter, 0.


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E-mail: ab. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The medicinal significance of Ephedra is based on the sympathomimetic properties of ephedrine E alkaloids. Pharmacological effects depend on the phytocomposition of individual Ephedra species.


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See Article History Ephedra, genus of 65 species of gymnosperm shrubs of the family Ephedraceae. Ephedra is an evolutionally isolated group and is the only genus in the order Ephedrales division Gnetophyta. Species are distributed in dry regions in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Frank Vincentz Physical description Members of the genus Ephedra are low, straggling, or climbing desert shrubs. The leaves , reduced to scales about one centimetre long, are opposite or whorled about the nodes of green branchlets. The bulk of photosynthesis occurs in the green stems.

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