Corydalis, or yan hu suo, is to the Chinese what aspirin is to Westerners. This potent painkiller is widely used for all types of pain, especially headaches and menstrual cramps. It is particularly beneficial for people who cannot take aspirin or other pain medications due to ulcers or stomach upset. Studies show that it works especially well when combined with acupuncture. Powdered corydalis is one of the strongest analgesic herbs out there and its effectiveness has been compared with morphine and codeine (it is approximately 1% the strength of opium). Because of this it also can be used to reduce anxiety and stress and promote sound sleep. Unlike morphine, yan hu suo has no side effects, a slower development of tolerance, and is non-addictive. Still, pregnant and nursing women should avoid it.
Excellent corydalis formulas are available by prescription from a licensed acupuncturist.