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Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Corydalis (Corydalis yanhusuo, Corydalis spp.) Print

Corydalis (Corydalis yanhusuo, Corydalis spp.)


Also listed as: Corydalis yanhusuo, Corydalis spp.
Related terms

Related Terms
  • 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.

Evidence Table

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. GRADE *

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.


Early evidence suggests certain compounds found in corydalis may help abnormal heart rhythms. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.


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 for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antibacterial, cancer, gastritis, HIV, hypnotic, pain relief, sedation, ulcers.


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.


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 (

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Ponting CP. P100, a transcriptional coactivator, is a human homologue of staphylococcal nuclease. Protein Sci. 1997;6(2):459-463.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Zhu XZ. Development of natural products as drugs acting on central nervous system. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 1991;86 Suppl 2:173-175.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

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.

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