Corydalis Benefits: Traditional Chinese Herb for Pain

by Peach Vitamins / May 04, 2021
Corydalis Benefits: Traditional Chinese Herb for Pain

Corydalis Benefits - Does Corydalis Really Work For Pain?


Corydalis is a tall, thin herb native to the Zhejiang province of northern China, and can also can be found in Siberia and Japan and even in the deciduous forests, thickets and hedges of Europe as well. The plant, a member of the poppy family (Papaveraceae), consists of a thin, green stem with green leaves and yellow flowers. It survives in the harsh conditions of northeast Asia by storing most of its energy in its hard, bright-yellow tuber, and it is this rhizome which is the part that is in use for medicinal purposes.


Corydalis in Traditional Chinese Medicine


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), corydalis benefits, or yan hu suo, is said to invigorate the blood, facilitate the movement of qi throughout the body, and has long been used to alleviate pain, including chronic pain and that caused by nerve problems or muscle spasms. Corydalis appears to work in a way to some pain medications by blocking pain signals in the brain. Some experts believe that it may be useful for chronic pain without the accompanying risk of addiction that many pain medications carry.

However, pregnant or breastfeeding women or by people with an irregular heart rhythm should not consume corydalis. It can also have possible interactions with some medications such as hypnotics, sedatives, anticoagulants and anti-arrhythmic drugs. So, as always, you should check with your qualified health practitioner for concerns about your specific situation when trying any new remedy or supplement.

Although in TCM single herbs are not in use in isolation, even some traditional herbalist will use corydalis alone because of its effectiveness as an analgesic, both for inflammatory pain and injury neuropathic pain. This wisdom comes from a sub-specialty of Chinese medicine, die da yao, literally “trauma medicine”, sometimes called “hit medicine”. This sub-specialty developed in the martial arts schools and the military, both for injuries due to training or those sustained in actual combat, and an impressive clinical history dating back at least 2500 years.

To increase its efficacy and scope of action, you combine corydalis also with other herbs, such as Angelica (bai zhi) as in the traditional formula Great Corydalis (Yan Hu Suo Zhi Tong).


Compounds in Corydalis Studied


Scientists at the University of California have recently isolated a compound called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), one of 20 alkaloids found in corydalis to date, which may be responsible for much of the herb's pain-relieving effects. As they reported in a study published in the journal Current Biology, DHCB had a positive effect on the three primary types of human pain — acute, inflammatory, and chronic or neuropathic pain.

"We landed on DHCB but rapidly found that it acts not through the morphine receptor but through other receptors, in particular one that binds dopamine," says Olivier Civelli, a professor at the UC, Irvine, and senior author of the study. "Dopamine receptors associate with the pleasure center of the brain, so we did not expect that dopamine was important for pain," Civelli said.  Researchers wrote in the study,". . .  that repeated DHCB administrations do not lead to development of tolerance and thus that DHCB may present advantages over morphine in chronic pain treatment."


If you have any further questions about anything in this article, please feel free to contact us through the link above or you can give Peach Vitamins a call at 404-266-9115 and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you. Or if you need more specialized help regarding corydalis or Traditional Chinese Medicine, we can refer you to one of the excellent TCM practitioners in our area.