Sida Cordifolia - Information and Uses

Information and Uses

What is Sida Cordifolia

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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 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.

Sida cordifolia is an herb in theMalvaceae family used widely in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known as Country mallow or Bala and grows in transitional or waste areas. Leaves are heart shaped with a single leaf at each node. The flowers are produced at the growing ends and are yellow in color. It is cool, astringent and extremely bitter, which makes it useful for reducing inflammation,and is diuretic and invigorating. In Ayurvedic terms it is is beneficial in deranged . The herb is rejuvinating to the nervous, circulatory, and urinary systems. The root has been used for asthma and arthritis for 2000 years. Cooked leaves are a remedy for piles. In Cambodia the roots are considered as diuretic and depurative; they are given in the treatment of gonorrhea and ringworm.

Bala is used in massage oils which are used topically to massage sore muscles and joints in arthritis or rheumatism, sciatica and neuritis of the legs. The leaves can be used as an infusion in treating fevers and delirium. The root of this plant is astringent, diuretic, and tonic, and its infusion is useful in cystitis, strangury, haematuria, bleeding piles, chronic dysentery, leucorrhoea, and gonorrhea The seeds are considered aphrodesiac and a nervine and are used in treating colic, tenesmus and gonorrhea.

Constituents include ephederine (1%), phytosterols and potassium nitrate. There mmay be an estrogenic effect from the phytosterols.

Sida cordifolia can be found in a few supplements for weight loss, substituted after the ephedra ban. The supplement contains 1% ephedrine alkaloid which can aid in fat loss, commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes for superior performance and leaner bodies. It is currently and most commonly being manufactured in tablets that also contain caffeine. Its effects on the body are different from the much warmer herb Ma Huang, a very popular, yet controversial ephedra extract.

Like its relatives (Ma Huang, and the pill pseudoephedrine), S. cordifolia is also effective as an anti-asthmatic treatment, but would be used for people who run hot rather than those who run cold. It is considered as diaphoretic, diuretic, and central nervous system stimulating. The Sida Cordifolia plant is native to India, Cambodia Sri Lanka.

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