Shrub up to 2 m tall with thin, smooth finely furrowed branches. The vagina is formed by short, thickened below, almost membranous leaves. Male spikelets are spherical, sessile, crowded (4-5 mm long), their bracts are fused up to a third. Female inflorescences – on short legs, oblong-oval, with 2-3 pores of bracts, up to a third fused. The fruit is oval or spherical, yellow or red, berry-shaped.
It occurs in the highlands of the North Caucasus, mainly on the slopes and in rocky places, grows in separate bushes. Tall ephedra can also be seen in Dagestan, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Transcaucasia.
Caucasian female specimens contain 1.058-2.643% alkaloids, male specimens contain 0.165-0.690% ephedrine alkaloids. Horsetail and tall conifers also contain the alkaloid ephedrine. Ephedrine is a valuable drug widely used in scientific medicine in the form of hydrochloric salt to raise blood pressure, with blood loss (trauma, surgery, shock), hypertension, during a crisis in infectious diseases, bronchial asthma, serum disease, myasthenia gravis, rendering assistance to those poisoned by narcotic and hypnotic poisons, and in a number of other cases.