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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics


Mormon Tea, Squaw Tea
(Ephedra Nevadensis, Ephedra Viridis)

For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Herbal Description
  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Dosage Information
  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Supplements & Products

  • Brigham Tea aka Mormon Tea Plant


    Mormon Tea / Brigham Tea is also known as Joint Fir, Mexican Tea, Teamsterís Tea, Tick Tea, Desert Tea, Miner's Tea, Popotillo, Popotilla, Squaw Tea.

    Mormon Tea, also known as Brigham Tea comes from a plant, Ephedra nevadensis. Some sources also state plant Ephedra Viridis is also called Green Mormon Tea or Brigham Tea (it appears similar but instead of having gray-green leaves, it has bright green leaves). It received the name Brigham Tea from the use of the plant for tea by the Mormon pioneers and it is also known as Mormon Tea for the same reason. It is prepared from the fresh or dried stems and branches of E. nevadensis. The dried branches are boiled in water to make the tea. People use it as a beverage and as a medicine. It is a small erect shrub native to the desert regions of the southwestern United States and some parts of Mexico.

    MORMON TEA (Ephedra Nevadensis)
    GREEN MORMON TEA (Ephedra Viridis)

    E. Nevadensis Plant

    E. Viridis Plant

    E. Nevadensis Leaves

    E. Viridis Leaves

    E. Nevadensis Flowers

    E. Viridis Flower

    Even though its taste is quite astringent, it is believed the name Mormon Tea comes from its use as a caffeine-free thirst quencher. Early American settlers used this herb as a popular folk remedy for sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea, but they also used it to treat colds and kidney disorders, and as a spring tonic. This herb has blood purifying, diuretic, decongestant, febrifuge, and tonic properties. The tannins in Mormon tea have a drying (astringent) effect and can reduce body secretions such as mucus. This might explain its use for colds. There is not enough information to know how Mormon tea might work for other uses such as kidney problems and sexually transmitted diseases.

    Mormon Tea is related to, but does not contain ephedrine like the Chinese plant Ma Huang, also known as Ephedra sinica. Be careful not to confuse E. nevadensis with E. sinica and other ephedra species. Unlike these other plants, Mormon tea does not contain ephedrine, an unsafe stimulant.

    Mormon Tea is grows throughout the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is found in deserts and on dry mountain sides. It is a branched broomlike shrub growing up to 4 feet tall, with slender, jointed stems half their length. The leaves are reduced to scales and grow in opposite pairs or whorls of three and are fused for half their length. Male and female flowers, blooming in March and April, are borne on separate plants in conelike structures. They are followed by small brown to black seeds.


    The Indians prepare Ephedra as a tea for stomach and bowel disorders, for colds, fever, and headaches. The dried and powdered twigs were used in poultices for burns and ointments for sores. One tribe made a decoction of the entire plant and drank it to help stop bleeding.

    The pioneers, early Mormon settlers, who abstained from regular tea and coffee, drank the beverage made from this plant. A handful of green or dried stems and leaves were placed in boiling water for each cup of tea desired. It was removed from the fire and allowed to steep for twenty minutes or more. To bring out the full flavor, a spoon of sugar or some strawberry jam was added depending on individual taste.

    Other white settlers used a very strong tea of the plant for the treatment of syphilis and other venereal disease, and as a tonic. It was standard fare in the waiting rooms of whorehouses in early Nevada and California. It was said to have been introduced by a Jack-Mormon who frequented Katie's Place in Elko, Nevada during the mining rush of the last century.

    Although not as potent as the commercial relatives in China and India, the southwestern species contains enough ephedrine-related alkaloid ingredients to make it functional. The drug ephedrine is a stimulant to the sympathetic nerves and has an effect on the body similar to adrenaline. It has a pronounced diuretic and decongestant effect and was used wherever urinary tract problems occurred. The dark brown resinous scales contain at least a third tannin and made an excellent external hemostatic. The small, hard, brown seeds were ground and used as a bitter meal or added to bread dough to flavor it.

    Brigham tea lists ephedrine, pseudopherine, lucenin 2, phosphorus, resin, tannin, and vicenin 2 among its active constituents. The allopathic world extracts ephedrine and pseudopherine for use in pharmaceuticals. The pharmacological action of ephedrine is similar to adrenalin. Its pressor and vaso-constrictor activity is lower, but its action lasts longer. It stimulates respiration, and increases the depth of respiration. Ephedrine reinforces heart action and dilates the bronchi, especially during spasms-which is why it is used for bronchial asthma. Ephedrine stimulates the central nervous system, and is used for treating depression and narcolepsy. It is an expectorant, and is useful for acute sinusitis and hay fever. Using ephedrine extracted from a plant will result in side effects. Pseudoephedrine has a similar, but weaker effect that that of ephedrine. It has a stronger diuretic effect.

    Today Mormon Tea is brewed from twigs of the plant for use as a thirst quencher. It is sometimes used as a decongestant in reducing congestion associated with bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and allergies. The tea is astringent enough to reduce diarrhea as well as mucus membrane ulcers in the stomach, duodenum, or colon. The twigs are sometimes chewed to relieve the pain of sunburned lips. An infusion has been used for treating kidney problems, gonorrhea, and the first stages of syphilis. A poultice of the powdered stems is used on sores and rheumatic and arthritic pain.


    Mormon Tea is mainly taken as a tea. The appropriate dose of Mormon tea depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. For best results read and follow product label directions.


  • Boil 2 cups water.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of Brigham-Mormon Plant stems, chopped into small pieces
  • Brew the tea for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • A teaspoon Honey may be added to sweeten the tea beverage, if desired.


    Mormon Tea is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses, such as a beverage in normal food amounts. It generally does not have any adverse effects. However, in some rare cases, it might cause an increase in urination and constipation. It is recommended to consume it during the daytime as it may cause sleeplessness or insomnia.

    If you are taking any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) it is best to seek the advice of your health care provider before using Mormon Tea for the treatment of your condition. Be cautious when using Mormon Tea and taking medicines by mouth (oral drugs). Mormon Tea absorbs substances in the stomach and intestines. Taking Mormon Tea along with oral medications can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs, and decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction, take Mormon Tea at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.

    In five thousands years of use of the whole plant, not one negative side effect has been reported. In just a few short years of extracting ephedrine and pseedophedrine from the Ephreda plants, many negative side effects have been reported, including death! When the whole plant is used, all of the chemical constituents are present, including those that balance out the active constituents. When just one alkaloid is extracted, the alkaloid becomes a powerful pharmaceutical and very dangerous. Ephedrine should not be mixed with other stimulants, such as caffeine.

    There is not enough information to know if Mormon tea is safe in medicinal amounts. Possible side effects include stomach complaints, kidney and liver damage, nose or throat cancer, increased urination, and constipation. Mormon tea seems to be safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts should be avoided until more is known. Pregnant women may choose to refrain from drinking this tea as it may lead to uterine contractions.


  • Brigham-Mormon Tea Herbal Products


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    Brigham Tea, also known as Mormon Tea, was used anciently to promote circulation.


    Amazon: Brigham Tea Herbal Products
    Amazon: Mormon Tea Herbal Products

    Amazon: Brigham-Mormon Tea Powder (Ephedra Viridis), Blue Palm Nutraceuticals, 50 Grams

    Add 1/4 teaspoon powder to a cup of hot water. Steep for at least 20 minutes. Natural decongestant and antihistamine support Used historically for clearing up allergies, sinus and hay fever Works as a decongestant and natural antihistamine to dry up the sinuses and expel offending stoppage and mucus Ailments traditionally used for: adenoids-polyps, allergies and sensitivities, asthma, hay fever, quincy, sinusitis and whooping cough.

    Amazon: Brigham-Mormon Tea Liquid Extract, All Natural, Sunflower Botanicals, 2 fl. oz.

    Mormon Tea, also known as Brigham Tea, is made from the E. nevadensis plant. Traditionally, Mormon Tea Extract has been used as an herbal supplement for a variety of mild health problems and urinary tract and/or kidney ailments. The natural effect of the tea reduces mucous membrane secretions which is a benefit for mild illnesses that may cause an increased level of secretion. This is a 2-ounce bottle.

    Amazon: Brigham-Mormon Tea Powder (Ephedra Nevadensis) Garden Seeds, Chezmokey, 50 Seeds

    Mormon Tea (E. nevadensis) is a branched broomlike shrub growing up to 4 feet tall, with slender, jointed stems. The leaves are reduced to scales and grow in opposite pairs or whorls of three and are fused for half their length. Male and female flowers, blooming in March and April, are borne on separate plants in conelike structures. They are followed by small brown to black seeds. The raw fruit are sweet but very mild flavor. The seed are cooked with a bitter taste. It can be roasted and ground into a powder and used to make a bread or mush. A delicious tea is made by steeping the green or dried twigs in boiling water until they turn an amber or pink color. It was used for food and medicine by indigenous people and for tea by settlers. Currently, its biggest use if as forage for sheep and cattle (not good for horses) and for habitat restoration. Sometimes grown for ornamental purposes.

    Amazon: Sinus Plus Liquid, Original Formula, Dr. Christopher, 2 fl. oz.

    Proprietary blend of wildcrafted Brigham Tea herb, Organic Marshmallow Root, Wildcrafted Goldenseal Root, Wildcrafted Horseradish Root, Burdock Root, Parsley Root, Lobelia Herb and Cayenne Pepper. Take 20 drops in a cup of hot water up to every half hour or as directed by your health care provider.

    Amazon: Sinus & Lung Liquid, Dr. Christopher, 1 fl. oz.

    This is a great formula for sinus congestion. This extract is in a base of pure grain alcohol. Ingredients include Brigham Tea, Horseradish & Cayenne. As a dietary supplement take one teaspoon in a cup of hot water up to every half hour or as directed by your health care provider.

  • Nutrition Basics: Brigham-Mormon Tea Herbal Information

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