Difference Between Ephedrine and Ephedra

With the development of modern medicine, the uses of ephedrine and ephedra have gained importance. They have found applications for various purposes. However, there has been confusion regarding the differences between these two compounds. 

Ephedrine finds uses in the field of medicine. It helps regulate the bp of a person from decreasing below the average level and bp also as an anesthetic. However, ephedra is a plant from which these ephedrine extracts derive.

Ephedrine vs Ephedra

The main difference between Ephedrine and Ephedra is that where ephedra is the source, ephedrine is its product. The difference between these two is not many, and both words are even used interchangeably by people. Ephedra as a plant has been discovered much before knowing about its medicinal effects.

Ephedrine vs Ephedra

Ephedrine is a widely used medicine banned from being used in certain places. It is one that helps to keep the level of bp of a person under control. It doesn’t allow the bp to fall very low. Also, during the times when operations are by a person, and another epic has to be given, this is used. This drug is put in a syringe and injected into the spine. As it mixes with the blood, it starts functioning and nimbs the body. 

Ephedra, on the other hand, is a medicinal plant. It grows throughout the year and has a bush-like structure. In the United States, no supplements containing any part of this plant’s extracted drugs can find uses as medicines. This plant belongs to the taxonomic rank of seed-producing shrubs. Mostly, it has a particular type of climate that is favorable for its growth. Its name led to the origin of the name ephedrine. The seeds are usually three centimeters in length. They are found growing in desert regions mostly. 

Comparison Table Between Ephedrine and Ephedra

Parameters of ComparisonEphedrineEphedra
TypeIt is a drug or medicine that is widely used. It is a plant. 
RelationshipEphedrine is the product of ephedra.Ephedra is the source of ephedrine.
UsesIt is used as an anesthetic and helps to keep the blood pressure from getting too low. It helps in the extraction of alkaloids, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine. 
DiscoveryIt was discovered in the 1920s.It was discovered thousands of years before.
Scientific nameIts scientific name is benzene methanol methyl amino ethyl sulfate.Ephedra equisetina Bge. is it’s scientific name.

What is Ephedrine? 

Ephedrine is a well-known medicinal compound. It prevents the bp of a person from decreasing too low. Also, at times surgeries were needed to be performed. This drug was put into syringes and injected into the spinal region of people. 

After some time, it used to numb the body. Also, at a point in time, it was to control excessive weight gain and certain neurological disorders. When used in the form of injections it works five times faster than when given through the mouth. 

As its chemical formula, it includes ten parts of carbon combined with 15 parts of Hydrogen and finally one part of nitrogen oxide (C10 H15 NO). And molecular mass is one hundred sixty-five point two hundred thirty-six (165.236) grams per mole. It came to be used in the commercial field of medicine in the year nineteen hundred, twenty-six. The World Health Organization has listed it to be one of its essential drugs/meds.

Several side effects came up with the usage of this drug. The most common of them include insomnia, a feeling of anxiety, an increase in bp of a person, cardiac arrest, angina pectoris, lack of desire to eat food, and even the inability to throw out liquid wastes from the body. 

It helps to increase the width of the bronchi, and it increases the air that would flow into the lungs. It acts on the sympathetic system of nerves. Its country of origin is China, where it had been used for thousands of years. However, its usage has no longer been permitted in several countries. 

What is Ephedra? 

Ephedra is a plant. It is found in most of the desert regions of the world. It is a genus of plants on its own. I Was traditionally used in the country of China for a very long time. Its use dates back to as early as the two hundred six BC to the AD two hundred twenty. 

Also, a tea-like ink from the leaves of these plants was tested. It was drunk by the traditional Americans and the members of the church. They called it the Mormon and also the Indian tea. 

There were various supplements for a diet that used to contain products that came from this plant. However, due to a report on side effects, many countries have banned these. The extracts of this plant that do not contain the drug ephedrine can be used for selling. There are many different species of this plant and as many as six drugs in them. There has been no prescribed control of these drugs. 

They found applications in various rituals that were evident in the ancient period. It had its relations with the moon. It believes to help connect the mortals with the gods. Hinduism, several gods, were thought to consume these. A combination of some drugs that this plant produced has been used to help prevent weight loss, along with aspirin

Main Differences Between Ephedrine and Ephedra

  1. Ephedrine is a drug used in the fields of medicine. However, ephedra is a plant that grows in the desert region.
  2. Ephedrine is one of the products of ephedra. However, ephedra is the source from which ephedrine derives.
  3. Ephedrine finds applications as an anesthetic and a bp regulator in people. Ephedra is for the manufacture of certain drugs, as a drink, and also in ancient rituals. 
  4. Ephedrine was discovered around the year eighteen hundred twenty. At the same time, ephedra has been into it for a thousand years. 
  5. The scientific name of ephedrine is benzene methanol methyl amino ethyl sulfate. At the same time, the scientific name of ephedra is Ephedra equisetina Bge.


Medicines have traveled a long path. The medicine ephedra had risen to fame because of its numerous uses. However, its side effects pushed it out of the mainstream. The ephedra plant, which grows worldwide in a desert kind environment, was discovered long before. From being regarded as the drink divine to becoming the source of ephedrine, its journey was historic. 

The minds of people and how they changed their perception and understood the uses of medicines is what makes its journey remarkable. It rose and fell. Though some countries have banned the usages of ephedrine, it finds applications in certain places. We can say that this medicine was an important achievement of people and has let them learn how the human body functions. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK70164/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/196247
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