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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 38-42

Effects of Ephedrine and Ephedra fragilis Crude Extracts on Human Peripheral Lymphocytes

1 Institute of Agriculture, University of Malta, Msida, Malta MSD 2080, Malta
2 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida, Malta, MSD2080, Malta

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E Attard
Institute of Agriculture, University of Malta, Msida, Malta MSD 2080
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Ephedra fragilis Desf. (Ephedraceae), a locally cultivated medicinal plant, is a source of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, two important alkaloids, which have long played an important pharmacological role. The present study investigated the in vitro effects of ephedrine and the Ephedra branch extract on unstimulated lymphocytes. Ephedra alkaloids were extracted from various plant parts and after phytochemical analysis, the brine shrimp lethality test was used to determine the activity of the extracts. The LC 50 of the branch extract was 581.395 μg/ml, showing no statistical difference from that of ephedrine (208.203 μg/ml). The ephedrine and extract did not show toxic effects on lymphocytes but exhibited immunostimulant activity. Although ephedrine cannot be used as an immune booster, it can be used as a lead drug for further immunological research.

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