Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various gymnospermous, mostly shrubby plants of the genus Ephedra, some of which are used as a source of ephedrine.
  • n. A stimulant, often sold as pills or tablets, derived from a plant of this genus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any plant of the genus Ephedra of gymnosperm shrubs.
  • n. A stimulant derived from the plant Ephedra sinica used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine and in over-the-counter weight-loss aids.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus of low, diœcious, gnetaceous shrubs, of about 20 species, found in desert or alkaline regions of the warmer temperate latitudes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. jointed and nearly leafless desert shrub having reduced scalelike leaves and reddish fleshy seeds

Etymologies

Latin ephedra, horsetail, from Greek ephedrā, from feminine of ephedros, sitting upon : ep-, epi-, epi- + hedrā, seat.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἐφέδρα (ephedra, "sitting upon"), from ἐπί (epi, "upon") + ἕδρα (hedra, "seat"). (Wiktionary)

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