What is Sida Cordifolia?
Sida cordifolia is related to Ma-huang (Ephedra) and is native to India, where it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for at least 2000 years. Like Ephedra, it contains ephedrine, but in smaller quantities. Ephedrine is commonly to enhance (athletic) performance and as a party energizer.
Sida cordifolia is a herb in the Malvaceae family, is native to India, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka, 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 colour.
Constituents include ephedrine (1%), phytosterols and potassium nitrate.
Ephedrine (EPH) is similar in structure to the synthetic derivatives amphetamine and methamphetamine. Ephedrine is commonly used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant and concentration aid.
Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine - that is, its principal mechanism of action relies on its direct and indirect actions on the adrenergic receptor system, which is part of the sympathetic nervous system or SNS. Central nervous system or CNS involvement is present, but the predominant clinical effects are caused by involvement with the sympathetic segment of the peripheral nervous system due to the fact that while ephedrine does cross the blood-brain barrier, it doesn't do this very efficiently (efficient crossers with similar modes of action would include amphetamine and methamphetamine).
Ephedrine increases post-synaptic noradrenergic receptor activity by (weakly) directly activating post-synaptic a-receptors and ß-receptors, but the bulk of its effect comes from the pre-synaptic neuron being unable to distinguish between real adrenaline or noradrenaline from ephedrine. The ephedrine, mixed with noradrenaline, is transported through the noradrenaline reuptake complex and packaged (along with real noradrenaline) into vesicles that reside at the terminal button of a nerve cell.
As an alkaloid, having some small amount of ephedrine within a noradrenaline vesicle reduces the overall pH of the vesicle. This has the effect of increasing likelihood that the affected vesicle will be released during any subsequent action potential the nerve cell experiences. The nerve cells in question generally fire at some regular baseline rate; the effect of adding ephedrine is to increase the number of vesicles released during each action potential and possibly to extend the time during which noradrenaline has an opportunity to have an effect on the post-synaptic neuron by virtue of the fact that the reuptake complex has to process both noradrenaline AND ephedrine, presumably a longer process.
Ephedrine's mechanism of action on neurotransmission in the brain is wide. Its action as an agonist at most major noradrenaline receptors and its ability to increase the release of both dopamine and to a lesser extent, serotonin by the same mechanism as explained above for norepinephrine, is presumed to have a major role in its mechanism of action.
Because of ephedrine's ability to potentiate dopamine neurotransmission it is thought to have addictive properties by some researchers. The ability to potentiate serotonin and noradrenergic activity is clinically relevant, but is not thought to contribute to the potential for abuse.
Ephedrine can cause insomnia, nervousness, heart-problems and high blood pressure. Never take Sida cordifolia if you have a heart-disease, high blood-pressure or if you are diabetic or pregnant. Do not combine Sida cordifolia with asthma medication or MAO-inhibitors like anti-depressants or yohimbe.
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