Corydalis (Corydalis yanhusuo, Corydalis spp.)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alkaloids, berberine, carboxylic acids, Chinese medicinal herb, coptisine, Corydalis ambigua, Corydalis incise, Corydalis pallida, Corydalis saxicola Bunting, Corydalis sempervirens,Corydalis stricta Steph., Corydalis tubers, Corydalis turtschaninovii,Corydalis yanhusuo, corynoline, corynoloxine, cytotoxic activity, dehydroapocavidine, dehydrocavidine, feruloylmethoxytyramine, Fumariaceae (family), isoquinoline alkaloid, L-tetrahydropalmatine (rotundium), oxocorynoline, Papaveraceae (family), protopine, tetradehydroscoulerine, tetrahydropalmatine (THP), traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Various types of corydalis have been included in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) preparations and are most commonly used for the treatment of gastritis-like disorders. Corydalis has been studied for other medical conditions, including pain caused by intense cold, parasitic infections, irregular heart rhythms, chest pain, and bacterial infections (especially from Helicobacter pylori). There is currently not enough human evidence to support these or any uses of corydalis.
Corydalis may interact with certain medications, including sedatives, hypnotics, drugs taken for irregular heart rhythms, some pain relievers, and anti-cancer drugs and may be unsafe for use during pregnancy.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Angina (chest pain)
Corydalis may be of benefit in chest pain caused by clogged arteries called angina. More studies are needed to determine if corydalis is effective for this use.
Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
Early evidence suggests certain compounds found in corydalis may help abnormal heart rhythms. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
H. pylori infection in stomach ulcers
Early studies suggest that corydalis may be of benefit in bacterial infections with H. pylori in stomach ulcers. However, more evidence is needed before a recommendation may be made.
Early study suggests that corydalis may have pain-relieving properties. High-quality clinical research is needed to confirm these findings.
Corydalis may be helpful in the treatment of infections caused by the parasite Echinococcus granulosus caused by the Hydatid worm. More studies are needed in this area.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Antibacterial, cancer, gastritis, HIV, hypnotic, pain relief, sedation, ulcers.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Doses of 3.25 grams and 6.5 grams of raw corydalis extracts have been taken by mouth for the treatment of pain. Rotundium, a component of corydalis, has been used for abnormal heart rhythms.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for corydalis in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with known allergy or sensitivity to corydalis.
Side Effects and Warnings
Corydalis is generally considered to be safe and has been used since ancient times as part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) preparations.
Individuals taking sedatives or hypnotics, drugs that treat abnormal heart rhythms (including bepridil), pain relievers, and anti-cancer drugs should use corydalis with caution.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Corydalis is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Corydalis may add to the effects of pain relievers, antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, sedative or hypnotic drugs, and drugs taken to treat HIV, abnormal heart rhythms, or chest pain caused by clogged arteries.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Corydalis may add to the effects of pain relievers, antibiotics, antivirals, anti-cancer herbs and supplements, sedatives, and herbs and supplements taken to treat abnormal heart rhythms or chest pain caused by clogged arteries. Corydalis may also interact with herbs and supplements containing tyramine.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Chen QM, Ye YC, Xu ZJ, et al. [Electron microscopic studies on the effect of Corydalis stricta Steph on human Echinococcus granulosus and protoscolices]. Zhongguo Ji.Sheng Chong.Xue.Yu Ji.Sheng Chong Bing Za Zhi. 1987;5(4):281-3, 16. View Abstract
Chen QM, Ye YC, Xu ZJ. [Experimental study on the effect of Corydalis stricta Steph. against Echinococcus granulosus protoscolices in man]. Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi. 1986;24(12):768-9, 783. View Abstract
Choi SU, Baek NI, Kim SH, et al. Cytotoxic isoquinoline alkaloids from the aerial parts of Corydalis incisa. Arch Pharm Res. 2007;30(2):151-154. View Abstract
Kim HR, Min HY, Jeong YH, et al. Cytotoxic constituents from the whole plant of Corydalis pallida. Arch Pharm Res. 2005;28(11):1224-1227. View Abstract
Li Y, Xu C, Zhang Q, et al. In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori action of 30 Chinese herbal medicines used to treat ulcer diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 4-26-2005;98(3):329-333. View Abstract
Li HL, Zhang WD, Liu RH, et al. Simultaneous determination of four active alkaloids from a traditional Chinese medicine Corydalis saxicola Bunting. (Yanhuanglian) in plasma and urine samples by LC-MS-MS. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2-2-2006;831(1-2):140-146. View Abstract
Ma SX, Chen KJ. [Current status of research on the Chinese medicinal herb Corydalis yanhusuo]. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1985;5(12):758-760. View Abstract
Ma SX. [Clinical studies in the treatment of premature systoles with alkaloids of Corydalis yanhusuo]. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 1983;11(1):6-10. View Abstract
Ponting CP. P100, a transcriptional coactivator, is a human homologue of staphylococcal nuclease. Protein Sci. 1997;6(2):459-463. View Abstract
Wang HX, Ng TB. Examination of lectins, polysaccharopeptide, polysaccharide, alkaloid, coumarin and trypsin inhibitors for inhibitory activity against human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase and glycohydrolases. Planta Med. 2001;67(7):669-672. View Abstract
Wang DJ, Mao HY, Lei M. [Rotundium in the treatment of atrial fibrillation]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1993;13(8):455-7, 451. View Abstract
Xie C, Kokubun T, Houghton PJ, et al. Antibacterial activity of the Chinese traditional medicine, Zi Hua Di Ding. Phytother Res. 2004;18(6):497-500. View Abstract
Yuan CS, Mehendale SR, Wang CZ, et al. Effects of Corydalis yanhusuo and Angelicae dahuricae on cold pressor-induced pain in humans: a controlled trial. J Clin Pharmacol. 2004;44(11):1323-1327. View Abstract
Zhang L, Yang LW, Yang LJ. [Relation between Helicobacter pylori and pathogenesis of chronic atrophic gastritis and the research of its prevention and treatment]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He.Za Zhi. 1992;12(9):521-526. View Abstract
Zhu XZ. Development of natural products as drugs acting on central nervous system. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 1991;86 Suppl 2:173-175. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017