Corydalis yanhusuo

Herbs gallery - Corydalis

Common names

  • Corydalis
  • Corydalis Rhizome

Corydalis is an herb that grows relatively low to the ground and has finely divided thin leaves and pinkish flowers. This herb is indigenous to northern parts of China, Japan and Siberia. Corydalis is closely related to the opium-poppy and thrives even in the severe climatic conditions prevalent in the northeast Asia. This herb stays alive in such conditions by reserving majority of the energy produced by it inside its solid and vividly yellow hued tuber. The root or rhizome of the herb is dried out and subsequently sliced into cutaways and is made use of in herbal medications.

Corydalis is a perennial plant that usually grows in shade along the edges of woodlands. The flowers of the herb are hermaphrodite in nature, possessing male as well as female organs.

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Parts used



Corydalis possesses soothing, narcotic and tranquilizing properties and is commonly used to alleviate abdominal pains.

Corydalis forms an integral part of the traditional Chinese medicine and has been extensively used for centuries to lend a hand in stimulating the circulatory system as well as alleviate nearly all excruciating conditions. This herb is especially prescribed by herbal medicine practitioners to mitigate menstrual cramps, chest and abdominal soreness. In fact, the pain relieving characteristic of the herb is attributed to the extremely potent alkaloids enclosed by it. The root of the corydalis herb possesses palliative or pain relieving, tranquillizing, anti-septic and anti-spasmodic properties. Corydalis is believed to be warm by nature and possess an overpowering and astringent flavor. The herb is related to the treatment of the heart, liver and spleen. Many Chinese herbal medicine practitioners also use the herb to lower blood pressure. You may prepare a tea, a tincture or a decoction with corydalis. Presently, extracts of corydalis roots are also available in the market.

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The root of the herb has been conventionally recommended to relieve pains as well as reinforce the circulation system for hundreds of years. In effect, the root of the herb is effectively used to treat a number of physical conditions, such as dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), hernia, chest pains, lumbago (chronic or recurrent soreness in the lumbar region, the back or loins) as well as harrowing injuries. Usually, the root of the herb is unearthed and cut during the latter part of spring or early phase of summer after the aerial parts of the herb has withered away. After harvesting, the root is dried and stored for use afterwards. Different extracts from corydalis have demonstrated to possess cardio tonic, antitussive (a substance used to suppress cough) anti-cancer and hypotensive (substance that causes low blood pressure) properties.

As discussed above, corydalis has an assortment of medical benefits. Some of the benefits of the herb with reference to definite health conditions are mentioned below.

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  • Nervousness and insomnia: corydalis is especially effective in treating nervousness, sleeplessness and restless leg syndrome. The tranquilizing properties of this herb make it a useful medication in treating insomnia and nervousness. In addition, the potent alkaloids enclosed by the plant enhance the sleep-stimulating essence of the barbiturates (a salt or ester of barbituric acid), which is approximately 40 per cent as effectual as morphine as far as encouraging sleep is concerned. In America, herbal medicine practitioners combine corydalis with California poppy (scientific name Eschscholzia californica) to cure anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness and edginess.
  • Cataracts: corydalis has been found to be extremely useful in preventing as well as treating cataracts. Alcohol extracted from the corydalis root inhibits the development of cataracts related with diabetes.
  • Allergy: dehydrocorydaline, an element of the potent alkaloids extracted from the corydalis rhizome, slows down the allergic reactions caused due to the intervening of antibodies. In addition, this alkaloid constituent also has an effect on allergies caused due to the reconciliation of the cells. According to scientists, the action of the corydalis tuber in slowing down allergic reactions is partially credited to the alkaloidal element dehydrocorydaline.
  • Heart: study on rodents showed that extracts from the tuber of the corydalis decrease the size of infracts (local tissues of the heart that are deprived of blood supply) and, thus, perks up the functioning of the heart in myocardial ischemia/ reperfusion (the restoration of blood flow to a tissue that did not receive blood supply) by slowing down apoptosis (programmed cell death). The defensive result of corydalis on myocardial ischemia/ reperfusion damage is intimately related to the slowing down of myocardial apoptosis by means of alteration of the Bcl-2 family.
  • Pain alleviation: a controlled trial was conducted with corydalis and Angelica dahuricae to observe the effects of these substances on pains caused by cold pressor in humans. As evident from above, during this experiment, scientists assessed the palliative impact of two herbs - corydalis and Angelica dahuricae. These scientists adopted the cold pressor approach, which is an easy, dependable and extensively utilized form in humans, for initiating stimulated pain. The researchers observed that following the administration of only one oral dose of the extracts of Angelica dahuricae and corydalis, the acuteness of the pain as well as the botheration caused by it reduced remarkably. The scientists also examined the analgesic effect of these two medications dose-wise. The findings of this controlled trial established that extracts of these two herbal medications - corydalis and Angelica may perhaps posses a latent clinical significance to treat gentle to restrained soreness.

Habitat and cultivation

Corydalis thrives best on the edges of forests or woodland gardens where there is a blend of sunlight and shade as well as the edge of shade. This herb also grows well in marshy beds. This herb is low-growing and has a preference for humid and properly drained light soil. It is apparent that corydalis is unaffected by the rapacity of rabbits.

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Corydalis is propagated by seeds and it is best to sow the seeds immediately when the seeds are matured. The utility of corydalis seeds is lost quickly when it is let to dehydrate. The seeds of this herb need to be sowed on the surface of the soil and the soil should be kept humid. Generally, the seeds take anything between one and three months to germinate provided the temperature is around 15°C. If you allow two warm months and then provide a cold layering, it will enhance the potential of the seeds that have been stored for latter use.

It is important that the corydalis seeds are sowed near the surface of the soil in order to let the seedling develop without any obstruction in a container during the first year of their growth. In order to make certain that the seedlings receive proper nourishment, use liquid fertilizers throughout the growing season. During their first year of their existence, corydalis seedlings produce a solitary leaf and during this period the plants are vulnerable to damping off (a disease of seedlings, arising either before or instantly after emerging from the soil, typified by decaying of the stem at soil level and eventual collapse of the plant, caused by any soil fungi). Segregate the seedlings into separate pots when they are inactive and grow them individually in a semi-shaded area of a greenhouse for a minimum of another year.

Put the young plants in their permanent places outdoors while they are dormant during the beginning of the third year of their growth. The division of the plants need to be undertaken once their flowering season is over.

Side effects and cautions

Corydalis should be mixed with California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) in order to obtain the optimum results while treating nervousness, sleeplessness and restless leg syndrome. A herbal product branded 'Corydalis Formula' from Spanda is said to be most effective in treating these conditions. For treating cataracts, the herb should always be used under the guidance of a competent medical professional.

It is important to note that pregnant women should not use this herb or it extracts. Regular use of this herb leads to acceptance and may even result in the cross-tolerance to morphine. Any person using any sort of medications for insomnia ought to be cautious of the combined consequences of the sleeping pills and this herb. As the herb encloses a compound that depresses the central nervous system, it should be used carefully when you are consuming alcohol. Though there has been no instance of toxicity owing to the use of corydalis, overdose is likely to produce shaking and tremors.


From Ivy - Feb-27-2016
I have taken corydalis lately in a few different formulas:
1. Life Rising/Ton Shen Herbs BT formula for upper spinal and cervical pain. The recommended dosage is three tabs (1.2g serving), three times daily. The herbs in the formula are: White Peony Root, Kudzu Root, Notopterygium Rhizome, Corydalis Rhizome, Chinese Licorice Root, Cinnamon twig in a proprietary blend.
2. Lifetime Brand Corydalis Herbal Body Comfort Formula, recommended dose 2 caps daily, or one twice daily. Herbal ingredients (per two caps) are:
Magnesium Malate 100mg
Corydalis Yanhousuo Rhizome Extract 80% THP 162.5mg
White Peony Root 75mg
Turmeric root extract 25mg
Cramp Bark 20mg
I have taken the BT formula longer but taking three pills three times daily can be hard to remember. It works pretty good. Sometimes it doesn't really touch the bad pain.
Recently I ordered Corydalis Body comfort formula to try it out, especially since I like to know how many milligrams of a certain herb is in my supplements. It works great at relieving pain and pain induced insomnia. The only problem I have had with it is the severe drowsiness. It kicks in within a hour of taking this product at a two caps with a meal dosage. Really not fun while trying to work retail.
It is especially worrisome if driving or at work. At that dosage it makes me really really need to take a nap. Squishy comfy surfaces look really attractive. Last night I took two with dinner. Within an hour I was so sleepy I brushed my teeth and curled up under a blankie on my bed. A solid three hours later my husband woke me up to get in bed.
I slept for over twelve hours total with very vivid dreams.
I would recommend taking the Life Rising formula for general use. If you are in a lot of pain and not going anywhere anytime soon and would love a deeply restive nap, I would recommend the Lifetime in a two cap dosage. If you have to function during the day, I would split the dose into one cap twice daily.
Post your comments, tips, or suggestions.