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Latin Name: Corydalis spp.

Common name: Golden Smoke

Family: Papaveraceae

Parts used: Rhizome


  • Isoquinoline Alkaloids (Protopine & Protoberberine type; corydaline, bulbocapnine, dl-Tetrahydropalmatine, (dl-THP), protopine, leonticine, ambinine, tetrahydrocoptisine, corybulbine, tetrahydrocolumbamine and tetrahydroberberine (THB).

Medicinal actions:

  •      Analgesic
  •      Antispasmodic
  •      Anti-viral
  •      Nervine Relaxant/Sedative

Medicinal use:

  • Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to invigorate blood, promote the circulation of Qi and provide pain relief from nearly any cause. Often indicated in dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), abdominal conditions and as a sedative and antispasmodic that will aid in nervousness which manifests through trembling, shaking, twitching, or tics.


  • Isoquinoline Alkaloids (Protopine & Protoberberine type) have shown to prevent platelet aggregation and also have inhibitory effects on Epstein Barr virus early antigen activation, which may be of value as anti-tumor promoters.
  • Tetrahydroberberine (THB) isolated alkaloid extract prevents platelet aggregation both in-vitro and in-vivo.
  • Bulbocapnine is believed to work with the dopaminergic neuronal transmitter system (potential inhibitory effect).
  • dl-Tetrahydropalmatine (dl-THP) has been shown to possess analgesic activity and also exert sedative-tranquilizing and hypnotic actions. Has also been shown to significantly ameliorate protracted abstinence withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and the abstinence rate among heroin users.


  • Tincture: (1:2, 40%), 3-6 ml, TID. Note: Small frequent doses may be best.
  • Decoction: 1/2 tsp, simmered for 3 minutes, TID.
  • Dried rhizome: 5-10 g, QD.
  • Capsule: dl-THP 100-200 mg at bedtime.
  • Best used alongside other nervine relaxants/sedatives.


  • In high doses may cause trembling, shaking, twitching, or tics.
  • Avoid in pregnancy & lactation due to unknown effects.


  •  In high doses may cause trembling, shaking, twitching, or tics.


●        May have additive effects with anticoagulant medication.


  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.


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