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Corydalis (Corydalis yanhusuo)


Humor:  -V, - P( plus P if taken alone or in excess), - K
Tissues / Organs:  Plasma, blood mover, promotes movement of chi, nerves, Stomach, Heart, liver, lung
Thermal Nature / Taste:  Bitter, acrid warm
Herbal Properties:  emmenagogue, blood mover, analgesic (pain reliever) 

Corydalis is a must for the herbal pharmacy. It is probably the strongest pain reliever available in the plant kingdom that does not require a prescription.  The powered rhizome is a very strong analgesic, approximately 1% the strength of opium. The alcohol and acetic acid extractions (using vinegar as the medium for extraction)  are the most potent. The combined alkaloids are 40% as effective as morphine.  The strongest component is a chemical called corydaline.

Corydalis invigorate the blood and alleviates pain. This can include pain due to blood stasis and traumatic injury. It is especially useful for dysmenorrhea.

It promotes the movement of chi and alleviates pain especially for stagnant chi that manifests with such symptoms as chest pain, abdominal pain, menstrual pain, hernial disorders, and especially epigastric pain.

Mixed with California poppy it is effective for many different pains. I usually blend it 50/50.  I take this blend and then add other herbs as indicated by the symptom complex. For menstruation pain add dong quai and cramp bark or cyperus rhizome (for opening up the liver energy and releasing stuck emotions.)  For headache add wood betony, feverfew, skullcap and valerian.  It can be mixed with fennel, skullcap and licorice root for stomach, colon discomforts.

You can make your own blend with the corydalis as the main herb in the formula. If taken in large doses it can make one sleepy and have a rather hypnotic quality.

This herb should not be given to pregnant women due to the emmenagogue properties. I would not give large doses of the herb if a person needed to drive or operate equipment or work at a job that needed a lot of one’s attention.

For headaches, I usually give one or two droppers full in a little warm water every 20 minutes or so. The person should try to rest while taking it for this.

For other pains just start with one or two droppers full and then see how it is going. Give more as needed.


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