What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Corydalis Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

What is Cordyalis Used for Today?

There is no reliable evidence that corydalis or its constituents offer any medicinal benefits. Corydalis contains a number of active and potentially dangerous chemicals in the alkaloid family, including tetrahydropalmatine (THP), corydaline, protopine, tetrahydrocoptisine, tetrahydrocolumbamine, and corybulbine. Of these, THP may be the most active, as well as the most toxic (see Safety Issues ).

Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can actually show that a treatment works, and there is only one such study that is relevant to corydalis. This trial tested THP as a treatment for a type of heart rhythm abnormality called supraventricular arrhythmia. 1 Reportedly, use of THP produced significant benefits as compared to placebo. However, this study was conducted in China, and there is considerable skepticism about the validity of Chinese medical trials. 2 (For information on why double-blind studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Trials? )

Much weaker evidence from animal and test-tube studies hint that TNP or corydalis extracts might have pain-relieving, sedative, and anti-inflammatory effects. 3 4 Corydalis constituents may also affect neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and GABA. 5 Equally weak evidence hints at benefits for preventing or treating cataracts , 6 reducing blood coagulation, 7 and lowering blood pressure . 8 However, none of this research remotely approaches the level of evidence that can prove a treatment effective.


  1. 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;10:150–3.
  2. Vickers A, Goyal N, Harland R, Rees R. Do certain countries produce only positive results? A systematic review of controlled trials. Control Clin Trials. 19(2):159-66.
  3. Reimeier C, Schneider I, Schneider W, et al. Effects of ethanolic extracts from Eschscholtzia californica and Corydalis cava on dimerization and oxidation of enkephalins. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995;45:132–6.
  4. Wei F, Zou S, Young A, Dubner R, Ren K. Effects of four herbal extracts on adjuvant-induced inflammation and hyperalgesia in rats. J Altern Complement Med. 5(5):429-36.
  5. Kleber E, Schneider W, Schafer HL, et al.. Modulation of key reactions of the catecholamine metabolism by extracts from Eschscholtzia californica and Corydalis cava. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995;45:127–31.
  6. Kubo M, Matsuda H, Tokuoka K, et al. Studies of anti-cataract drugs from natural sources. I. Effects of a methanolic extract and the alkaloidal components from Corydalis tuber on in vitro aldose reductase activity. Biol Pharm Bull. 1994;17:458–9.
  7. Xing JF, Wang MN, Ma XY, et al. Effects of dl-tetrahydropalmatine on rabbit platelet aggregation and experimental thrombosis in rats. Chin Pharm Bull. 1997;13:258–60.
  8. Lin MT, Chueh FY, Hsieh MT, et al. Antihypertensive effects of dl-tetrahydropalmatine: an active principle isolated from corydalis. Clin Exper Pharm Physiol. 1996;23:738–42.


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