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Mormon Tea

Mormon tea, made from the light green, jointed stems of certain plants from the Ephedra genus (Ephedra nevadensis and Ephedra virdis), is a popular choice of herbal tea with numerous health benefits to offer. It derives its name from the Mormons, followers of the religious and cultural tradition of Mormonism, who drank this tea to attain energy and prevent kidney ailments.

Mormon Tea

Mormon tea should never be confused with the medicinal preparation Ephedra (‘Ma huang’ in Chinese), prepared from another plant named Ephedra sinica. The former is a safe medicinal tea while the latter has been banned by the FDA for its possible toxic effects.

Mormon Tea

Mormon Tea

Origin and history

The Word of Wisdom prohibits Mormons to consume any addictive substances including coffee and black tea. So, their leader Brigham Young encouraged them to make an energizing beverage by boiling the stems of these plants, thus gaining the tea its name Brigham tea.

Even before the tea was made popular by the Mormons, it was traditionally consumed by the native Indian tribes Kawaiisu and Paiute, to whom it was known as Tutupivi and Tuttumpin.

The shrubs from which Mormon tea is derived are abundantly grown in the South Western deserts of the United States and Mexico.

Other Names: Desert Tea, Ephedra Tea, Green Mormon tea and Popotillo.

Mormon Tea Plant

Mormon Tea Plant

Possible health benefits of Mormon tea

While there is limited scientific proof for the health benefits offered by Mormon tea, American herbalist Michael Moore provided some evidence to support its anti-allergic properties when he showed the tea to effectively reduce the symptoms of pollen allergy in a man. Other possible benefits include:

  • Controlling mucus secretion: The astringent effects of the tannin present in Mormon tea aids in controlling the presence of mucus and phlegm in our body by reducing the mucous membranes swelling and dilating the bronchial vessels
  • Relieving cold and respiratory disorders: Being a good decongestant and a bronchial dilator, this herbal Mormon tea helps in relieving seasonal allergies, cold, sinus congestion and a blocked nose. It is also effective in curing the symptoms of asthma and hay fever (runny nose and watery eyes).
  • Helping in curing sexually transmitted diseases: This useful herbal tea served in brothels in the 1800s attained the name of Whorehouse tea as it was believed to cure venereal or sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis. However this fact has not been proven.
  • Managing kidney disorders: The mild content of American ephedra present in this tea helps it to excrete excess fluid accumulated in the body and reduce the excess water weight, thus helping in preventing/curing kidney disorder and bladder problems.
  • Aiding in weight loss: Pseudoephedrine, being one of the few chemical alkaloids contained in Mormon tea makes it to be used as a weight loss supplement to a certain extent.
  • Treating urinary tract infections: The Ephedra nevadensis stems work as a diuretic tonic, helping in treating urogenital problems and urinary tract inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Drinking the tea or applying a poultice prepared from the powdered stems can help in curing sores and reliving pain.
  • Reducing fever: This bitter tasting tea acts as a febrifuge (medicine used to reduce fever) as well as a spring tonic.
  • Rich source of calcium: Being one of the best tea sources of calcium, it can be used for strengthening the bones and preventing conditions like osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
Mormon Tea Photos

Mormon Tea Photos

How to prepare Mormon tea

Both the fresh and dried stems are used for making the tea:

  • Boil two cups of water
  • Add about a tablespoon of mormon stems
  • Brew the tea for 10 to 15 minutes
  • A teaspoonful of Honey may be added to sweeten the beverage
Mormon Tea Images

Mormon Tea Images

Side effects of Mormon tea

It does not generally have any adverse effects. However, in some rare cases, it might cause side effects like increased urination and constipation. It is recommended to consume it during daytime as it may cause sleeplessness or insomnia.

It is advisable not to drink Mormon tea within an hour of any oral medication, as it might reduce the effect of the latter by decreasing the amount of medication absorbed by the body.

Pregnant and lactating women should refrain from drinking this tea as it can lead to uterine contractions.

Mormon Tea Flower

Mormon Tea Flower

Where to Buy Mormon Tea

The selling of Mormon tea in the United States is legal as it is devoid of ephedrine, a harmful substance that has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Olympic Committee. Fresh as well as dried stems are available in the form of tea in herbal tea stores, while you can also opt for ordering it from online stores selling medicinal teas.

Mormon Tea Pictures

Mormon Tea Pictures

Article was last reviewed on 22nd July 2021

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2 thoughts on “Mormon Tea

  1. Megan says:

    Just a little comment. Mormons don’t have a book of wisdom it is actually called the Word of Wisdom and is located in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

  2. buhle says:

    I need it bt I’m in south africa plz helpe

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