Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various usually shrubby gymnosperms of the genus Ephedra, having jointed green stems and small scalelike leaves, some species of which are used as a source of ephedrine.
  • noun A drug containing ephedrine derived from one of these plants, used in traditional Chinese medicine as a stimulant and decongestant and sold in the United States primarily as a dietary supplement for weight loss before it was banned because of toxic side effects in 2004.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Latin ephedra, horsetail, from Greek ephedrā, from feminine of ephedros, sitting upon : ep-, epi-, epi- + hedrā, seat; see sed- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἐφέδρα (ephedra, "sitting upon"), from ἐπί (epi, "upon") + ἕδρα (hedra, "seat").

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