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Corydalis (yan hu suo)
What is corydalis? What is it used
Corydalis is a tall, thin herb native to the Zhejiang province
of China. The plant consists of a thin, green stem with green
leaves and yellow flowers. The rhizome is used for medicinal
In traditional Chinese medicine, corydalis is believed to
invigorate the blood, facilitate the movement of qi throughout
the body, and reduces menstrual, abdominal and hernial pain.
To date, a total of 20 alkaloids have been isolated in corydalis,
the most powerful of which is a compound called tetrahydropalmatine
(THP). Lab tests have shown that THP acts as an analgesic
and sedative and can have a wide range of actions on the central
nervous system. Animal studies have found that THP decreases
the stickiness of platelets, which helps protect against heart
attacks and strokes, and can lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Human trials have found that THP can help people with insomnia
fall asleep easier, without any adverse side effects, and
a Chinese study conducted in 1990 found that HTP could reduce
nerve pain and pain associated with menstruation.
How much corydalis should I take?
The recommended dosage for corydalis is 5-10 grams per day
of the dried rhizome. Some practitioners recommend an alternative
of 10-20 millileters of an extract daily as an alternative.
What forms of corydalis are available?
Many Asian markets and specialty stores sell dried or powdered
corydalis root. Corydalis is also available as a tablet or
as an alcohol-based extract.
What can happen if I take too much
corydalis? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
The American Herbal Products Association has assigned corydalis
a class 2B rating, meaning that it should not be taken by
pregnant or nursing women. Some individuals who take large
doses of corydalis may experience vertigo, fatigue or nausea.
In addition, there have been many reports of subjects experiencing
THP toxicity, which could lead to hepatitis.
At present, there are no known drug interactions with corydalis.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
- Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Vista, CA: Eastland
- Lin MT, Chueh FY, Hsieh MT et al. Antihypertensive
effects of dl-tetrahydropalmatine: an active principle isolated
from corydalis. Clin Exper Pharm Physiol 1996;23:73842.
- Xiaolin N, Zhenhua H, Xin M, et al. Clinical
and experimental study of dl-tetrahydropalmatine effect
in the treatment of supraventricular arrhythmia. J Xi'An
Med Univ 1998;10:1503.
- Xing JF, Wang MN, Ma XY, et al. Effects
of dl-tetrahydropalmatine on rabbit platelet aggregation
and experimental thrombosis in rats. Chin Pharm Bull
- Zhu YP. Chinese Materia Media: Chemistry,
Pharmacology, and Applications. Australia: Harwood
Academic Publishers, 1998:4458.