Corydalis Yanhusuo – Fumewort

Corydalis Yanhusuo


Latin name: Corydalis yanhusuo
English name: fumewort
Chinese name: yanhusuo
Ayurveda name:
Japanese name: Engosaku
German name: Lärchenspornwurzelstock

Parts used: Root

Latin Medicinal name: Rhizoma Corydalis Yanhusuo


It is produced mainly in Zhejiang province, collected in summer. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Other members of the Corydalis spieces are, Corydalis canadensis that is grows in North America and Corydalis cava that is used traditionally in European herbalism.


The major medicinal constituents are:

By far the most important constituent is Berberine.
– d-corydaline,
– corydalis,
– dl-tetrahydropalmatine,
– crybulbine,
– tetrahydrocoptisine,
– corydalamine,
– tetrahydrocolumbamine,
– alpha-allocryptopine,
– coptisine,
– dehydrocorydaline,
– columbamine,
– Dehydrocorydalmine



Invigorates Blood and promotes circulation of Qi to relieve pain.

Pungent and bitter in flavor, warm in property, acts on the Heart, Liver, and Spleen channels.

For pain in the epigastrium, hypochondrium, and stomach due to Stasis of Qi and Blood, also for pain all over the body.

In treating severe pain in the stomach, it is used alone or with Fructus Meliae Radicis (Chuan Lian Zi). (Toosendan fructus)

For dysmenorrhea, it is used with Radix licae Sinensis (Dang Gui), Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong (Chuan Xiong), Radix Paeoniae Alba (Bai Shao), and Rhizoma Cyperi (Xiang Fu). Another alternative for menstrual pains is to combine it with Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui) and Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong).

For pain in the hypochondrium, it is used with Fructus Trichosanthis (Gua Lou), Bulbus Allii Macrostemi (Xie Bai), Radix Curcumae (Yu Jin), and Radix Linderae (Wu Yao).

For pain in the extremities or all over the body, it is used with Radix licae Sinensis (Dang Gui), Ramulus Cinnamomi (Gui Zhi), and Radix Peoniae Rubra (Chi Shao).

For traumatic pain, it is used with Radix licae Sinensis (Dang Gui), Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong (Chuan Xiong), Gummi Olibanum (Ru Xiang), and Myrrha (Mo Yao). A variation of the same formula for pains of all kinds is a combination with Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui) Myrrh (Mo Yao) and Frankincense (Ru Xiang). All four herbs are grinded to a powder and mixed with honey to form a pill about the size of a golf ball. Take one of these two or three times daily

Blood stasis with chest and abdominal pain with Trogopterori faeces (wu ling zhi)

Blood stasis with chest and abdominal pain, dysmenorrhoea following injury with Myrrhae (mo yao) p. 560, Olibanum (ru xiang) p. 562, Trogopterori faeces (wu ling zhi)

Blood and qi obstructions due to cold with abdominal pain, hernias ➔ Foeniculi fructus (xiao hui xiang).

Dosage and administration:

5 – 10 gr , decocted in water or 1.5 – 3 gr ofthe powder if taken orally with water. The herb is more effective if boiled with vinegar.

Cooking time is about 20 minutes.

For angina and chest pains
combine with Red Sage root (Dan Shen); for stomach and abdominal
pains combine with Licorice (Gan Cao) and White Peony (Bai Shao


Look Corydalis gariana


Predominantly Corydalis canadensis and Colrydalis cava

James Duke in his second edition of the “Handbook of Medicinal Herbs” ascribes a plethora of uses for Corydalis.

Corydalis: 2–6 g dry root/day or 4–12 ml fluid extract (1:2) for most purposes; 5–10 g dry root/day or 10–20 ml fluid extract (1:2) for analgesia.

Extracts (Corydalis) — Oral doses of 1–50 mg/kg gindarin, based on dl-tetrahydropalmatine, embryotoxic to rats in days 1–20 of pregnancy.

Methanolic extracts and dehydrocorydaline inhibit aldose reductase. Tetrahydroberberin is strongly antiaggregant by inhibiting platelet aggre-


The tuber of Corydalis sp. contains isoquinoline alkaloids of apomorphine type, e.g. bulbocapnine, corydaline, which manifest analgetic, sedating and narcotic effects . The plant has been used for the treatment of severe neurological disorders and mental diseases. It was also used in cases of asomnia, tension and anxiety conditions.

Other Uses





Use during the pregnancy is forbidden.


  1. A Coloured Atlas of the Chinese Materia Medica Specified in Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (1995 Edition)
  2. An illustrated Chinese Materia Medica . Jing-Nuan Wu.
  3. A Materia Medica for Chinese Medicine , plants, minerals, and animal products. Carl-Hermann Hempen, Toni Fischer. Elsevier 2007 pg532
  4. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. James Duke
  5. Cheng ZH, Guo Y-L, Wang H-Y, Chen G-Q: Qualitative and quantitative analysis of quaternary ammonium alkaloids from Rhizoma Corydalis by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform mass spectrometry coupled with a selective precipitation reaction using Reinecke salt. Anal Chim Acta 2006, 555:269-277
  6. Gao JL, Shi JM, He K, Zhang QW, Li SP, Lee SM, Wang YT: Yanhusuo extract inhibits metastasis of breast cancer cells by modulating mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways. Oncol Rep 2008, 20:819-824.
  7. Michael Tierra, Lesley Tierra, Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine vol 2 . Lotus Press , Twin Lakes , 1998

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