The herb has a light hypnotic and sedative effect in many animals and reduces menstrual flow and pain in humans.
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine consider corydalis to be the second most effective pain reliever, opium being the most effective herb for pain. It can be used for headaches, menstrual pain and back pain – even back pain caused by nerve problems or muscle spasms.
Studies done in animals suggest that corydalis may be effective at treating pain triggered by cold and may help block inflammation and nerve pain. Some believe it to be one tenth the strength of morphine.
A compound, dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), is thought to be responsible for the herb’s pain-relieving effects. Corydalis appears to work similarly to prescription pain medications that block pain signals in the brain.