Mormon Tea 
Ephedraceae   Ephedra   viridis 

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mormon tea flowers

Mormon Tea at White Dome Nature Conservancy 23 April 2016
st. george

Photo Details
plant, 2. stem close-up, December 12, 2004 - Red Butte Gardens, Salt Lake County, Utah - more...Mormon Tea at Dead Horse Point - ŠNicky Davis,  3.  Mormon Tea  in the White Dome Nature Conservancy  near St. George, Washington County, Utah

syn. Joint Grass
Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, Flowers: inconspicuous yellow flower, Leaves:  minute,  Stems: green jointed stems which perform photosynthesis for the plant
This  perennial plant is a native Utah shrub with a high tolerance to drought and fire. It has a medium palatablitily to browsing animals.   Mormon settlers made a tea from  the stems."The Navajo brewed the tops into a drink for use as a cough medicine. Other indians roasted the seeds, ate them whole or ground them into a meal for various uses"  (Elmore and Janish 1976). The plant contains the drug pseudoephedrine, which is sold commercially as a nasal decongestant and cold remedy. Some Old World species contain ephedrine, a stronger stimulant which is sometimes used as a weight loss and energy enhancing drug.  Green ephedra is highly toxic to both domestic sheep and cows during gestation, even at low doses.  Green ephedra plant tissue contains ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, N-methyl pseudoephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, N-mehtyl pseudoephedrine, and a high tannin content  
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