Herb of the Month - Corydalis ambigua!

Author: Lia Pellizzeri   Date Posted:1 July 2017 

Used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the wonderful herb Corydalis harks from the Papaveraceae family and is related to Papaver somniferum – more commonly known as the notorious Opium Poppy. Through this relation alone, you may get the idea that it is used to treat pain, and you would be right.

Corydalis can thank its content of alkaloid compounds including corydaline, berberine, protopine, and palmatine for its analgesic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-inflammatory actions. High in Protoberberines, the Chinese have used this plant for thousands of years as analgesics, antiseptics, sedatives, and for gastrointestinal disorders.


Pain Be Gone:

One of the very special alkaloid compounds of Corydalis is dehydrobulbine (DHCB), which effectively alleviates thermally-induced acute pain by reducing glutamate and moderating dopamine receptor antagonist activities, as well as exerting action at opioid receptors. It has been shown that DHCB helps inflammatory pain.



Understanding its relation to Opium:

Corydalis belongs to the Papaveraceae family, the same as the Opium Poppy, it has just as many differences as it does similarities. Although both used to treat pain, the constituents of Opium have been isolated and used in Conventional medicine as both an opioid receptor pain-killer and sedative. The active compounds in Corydalis however, have been shown to help pain at doses that do not induce sedation whilst still exerting significant effects at pain receptors.


Corydalis is indeed a wonderful and at times, often overlooked herb considering its significant effects on pain. Its ability to work directly on pain receptors without creating tolerance and dependence makes it a terrific choice in managing pain and one of the few herbs we have in our herbal arsenal that can deal with pain so well.


Written by Lia Pellizzeri
Emily Seddon

Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.

Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.

Comments (1)

Thanks for the Article.

By: on 5 September 2018
Thank you Lia for the well written article.

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