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Sida cordifolia

Sida cordifolia



No documentation 

Vernacular Name

Country mallow, bala, sida


Since prehistoric times, Sida cordifolia has been used for its medicinal properties in India, specifically in Ayurvedic medicine. Presently, this herb is used in weight management and body building. It has been marketed as an alternative to Ma huang, the Chinese herb that also contains the same alkaloid. Just as with Ma huang, S. cordifolia has value for its use in treating respiratory disorders, which is what it was used for in Ayurvedic medicine. Its use as a stimulant is the focus of modern day marketing.

There is a serious lack of scientific literature available on this herb considering the broad scope of modern day marketing of the herb in various forms.

Growing to a height of 3m, these erect annual yields small yellow flowers with small, white or black seeds. S. cordifolia is described as being generally miasmal in nature.

Origin / Habitat

S. cordifolia is an annual originating in tropical and subtropical areas of India and Nepal, though now widely cultivated throughout India and other parts of the world where the tropical climate can be replicated.

Chemical Constituents

The primary medicinally efficacious constituent of S. cordifolia is the alkaloid ephedrine. It should be noted that the seeds contain about four times as much of this alkaloid as other parts of the plant. Additionally, the plant contains mucins, phytosterols, potassium nitrate, and resin and resin acids.

Plant Part Used

Leaves, Roots, Seeds

Medicinal Uses




Weight management

Respiratory disorders

Cardiac stimulant

Most Frequently Reported Uses



Weight management


Dosage Range 

100-300mg, one to three times per day of standardized extract.

Most Common Dosage

150mg standardized to 8% ephedra alkaloids.


Standardization Dosage

There are gross variations in the standardization of S. cordifolia with product in the marketplace showing extracts ‘standardized’ to from 4-25% ephedra alkaloids. Caution is advised in using any ‘standardized’ form of this herb as the intent of the standardization is to increase the level of ephedra.



S. cordifolia is most commonly prepared as an extract of either the whole plant or just the root. It has been shown to have antioxidant properties according to a 2003 study.[1] According to a 1999 study, ethyl acetate of S. cordifolia has been found to have both analgesic and hypoglycemic properties.[2]

Additionally, in a 2005 animal study, S. cordifolia exhibited a depressive effect on the central nervous system and a low toxicity in mice.[3]

An aqueous solution of S. cordifolia was found to stimulate liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rats.[4] Additionally, animal studies have found S. cordifolia to have vasorelaxative[5], hypotensive and bradycardic effects.[6]


In a 2000 study S. cordifolia was found it to have beneficial effects on treatment of Parkinson’s disease when used in combination with Mucuna pruriens, Hyoscyamus reticulatus and Withania somnifera. The study observed 18 people clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s, all of whom took a milk concoction of the aforementioned herbs. Thirteen subjects participated in a 28 day cleanse beforehand while the remaining five subjects did not. Only the subjects who cleansed before the treatment showed improved activity in daily life. Side effects included excessive salivation.[7]

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

If you are using a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or any other prescription drug, or you are using an over-the-counter drug containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine (ingredients found in certain allergy, asthma, cold/cough and weight control products).

Potential interactions exist with central nervous system stimulants and decongestants.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Consult a health care professional before using this product if you have heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, psychiatric condition, difficulty in urinating, prostate enlargement, or seizure disorder.

Exceeding recommended serving will not improve results and may cause serious adverse health effects.


Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Not intended for use by anyone under the age of 18.

Adverse reaction

While there are no studies reporting serious adverse events with this particular herb, nevertheless, it does contain ephedrine alkaloids and therefore the relative precautions should be noted.


Discontinue use and call a health care professional immediately if you experience rapid heartbeat, dizziness, severe headache, shortness of breath, or similar symptoms.

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  1)  Ayuverda


  1. Auddy B, Ferreira M, Blasina F, Lafon L, Arredondo F, Dajas F, Tripathi PC, Seal T, Mukherjee B. Screening of antioxidant activity of three Indian medicinal plants, traditionally used for the management of neurodegenerative diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. Feb 2003;84(2-3):131-138.
  2. Philip BK, Muralidharan A, Natarajan B, Varadamurthy S, Venkataraman S. Preliminary evaluation of anti-pyretic and anti-ulcerogenic activities of Sida cordifolia methanolic extract.  Fitoterapia. Apr 2008;79(3):229-231.
  3. Franco CI, Morais LC, Quintans-Júnior LJ, Almeida RN, Antoniolli AR. CNS pharmacological effects of the hydro alcoholic extract of Sida cordifolia L. leaves. J Ethnopharmacol. 26 Apr 2005;98(3):275-279.
  4. Silva RL, Melo GB, Melo VA, Antoniolli AR, Michellone PR, Zucoloto S, Picinato MA, Franco CF, Mota Gde A, Silva Ode C. Effect of the aqueous extract of Sida cordifolia on liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy.  Acta Cir Bras. 2006;21(1):37-39.
  5. Santos MR, Nascimento NM, Antoniolli AR, Medeiros IA.  Endothelium-derived factors and k+ channels are involved in the vasorelaxation induced by Sida cordifolia L. in the rat superior mesenteric artery.  Pharmazie. May 2006;61(5):466-469.
  6. Medeiros IA, Santos MR, Nascimento NM, Duarte JC. Cardiovascular effects of Sida cordifolia leaves extract in rats. Fitoterapia. Jan 2006;77(1):19-27.
  7. Nagashayana N, Sankarankutty P, Nampoothiri MR, Mohan PK, Mohanakumar KP.  Association of L-DOPA with recovery following Ayurveda medication in Parkinson's disease.  J Neurol Sci. 15 Jun 2000;176(2):124-127.
Sida cordifolia

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