The Herb ephedra, also known by its Chinese name Ma huang, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since 3000 B.C. to treat colds, asthma, and other upper-respiratory disorders. An evergreen shrub, ephedra (usually Ephedra sinica) over the centuries has traditionally been dried as a whole herb and then added in very small amounts to a tea, along with other herbs, to help ease congestion. Preparations made from two other species, E. intermedia and E. equisetina, have also been used in Traditional medicine, but generally have a less potent therapeutic effect. Traditional East Asian herbal medicines containing ephedra were generally herbal combination formulas designed for specific short-term usage. These would be used in illness conditions where the action of ephedra would counteract certain types of unhealthy symptoms.