An aqueous extract of Ephedra equisetina root was found to induce cyanobacterial cell death. The extract displayed no negative effects on the fish populations but instead, improved the habitat conditions for the growth of macrophytes, zooplankton and bacteria because the inhibiting effects of the extracts on cyanobacteria helped clear up the water column. The removal kinetics of cyanobacteria by E. equisetina extract appears to be a first order process with the rate constant being extract-dose-dependent. Compounds including the flavonoids found in E. equisetina root kill the cyanobacteria in vitro at a dose of 5.0 Âµg extract per 100 mL water or above. The extract constituents act to disrupt the thylakoid membrane, interrupt the electronic transport, decrease the effective quantum yield, and eventually lead to the failure of photosynthesis in Microcystis aeruginosa. This study presents an easily-deployed, natural and promising approach for controlling cyanobacterial blooms as an emergency measure, and also provides insight into the dynamics and mechanism of the extract consisting of multiple compounds synergistically removing algae.