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Sida Cordifolia has been used for over 2,000 years to treat:
- Bronchial asthma cold & flu
- lack of perspiration
- nasal congestion
- aching joints and bones
- cough & wheezing
In Western terms, Sida Cordifolia is considered to have diaphoretic, diuretic, central nervous system stimulating and anti-asthmatic activity.
Sida Cordifolia acts as a general stimulant on many parts of the body at the same time and is most often used as a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant, as a decongestant and as an appetite suppressant in a wide variety of successful weight loss products.
The stem of this plant contains a number of active compounds, including small amounts of an essential oil, and most important, 1-2% alkaloids composed mainly of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, with ephedrine ranging from 30-90%, depending on the source.
Sida Cordifolia is an extract of the Sida cordifolia plant containing 0.8% to 1.2% of the alkaloid ephedrine. It is considered to be one of the most valuable drugs in Ayurveda. It is used by Ayurveda physicians as an antipyretic in febrile and infectious diseases, and also as an aphrodisiac. Sida Cordifolia is also useful in the treatment of chronic broncho-pulminary conditions characterized by bronchospasm and cough.
Importance of Sida Cordifolia
The importance of Sida Cordifolia becomes apparent as it contains ephedrine alkaloids common to the Ephedra plant (also known by its Chinese name: Ma-Huang). Sida Cordifolia contains lesser quantities of alkaloids than Ma-Huang, and therefore is regarded as a weaker stimulant on cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Furthermore, Sida Cordifolia contains other bronchodilating principles which Ma-Huang does not have…..in particular vasicinone, vasicine, and vasicinol.
The effects of ephedra are generally attributed to the alkaloid "ephedrine" which produces central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, peripheral vasoconstriction, elevation of blood pressure, bronchodilation, cardiac stimulation, and a decrease of intestinal tone & motility, among other effects. According to Dr. Albert Leung in his second edition of "Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics" (John Wiley & Sons, 1995), the central stimulant action of ephedrine appears to be mediated by '1-adrenoceptors', and not by 'dopamine receptors'. He also notes that pseudoephedrine has similar activities as ephedrine, except that its hypertensive and central nervous system effects are weaker.
Mark Blumenthal, editor of HerbalGram and executive director of the American Botanical Council, has stated that he has used the stems & twigs of this Chinese herb as a cold remedy for 20 years. He points out that the effects of ephedrine, a stimulant alkaloid, should not be confused with those of the whole herb itself. This is a good example of how the effects of a whole herb, and its isolated constituents, must be considered separately. One should not confuse ephedrine and pseudoephedrine with ephedra, just like one shouldn't confuse pure caffeine with coffee.