Rationale for Utilizing Corydalis Yanhusuo for Treatment of Chronic Pain

Kirsten West, Hien Tran & Yoon Hang Kim*

Medical Director of Integrative Medicine, WellMed, San Antonio, TX 78249, Texas, USA

Dr. Yoon Hang Kim, Medical Director of Integrative Medicine, WellMed, San Antonio, TX 78249, Texas, USA.

Keywords: Chronic Pain; Herbal Medicine; Drug Interactions


Pain presents a tremendous burden to many medical providers, patients, and society as a whole. Specifically, chronic pain greatly affects quality of life, financial security, and healthcare spending. It is estimated that more than 20% of the U.S. population suffers from chronic pain. Of these, more than 7% of chronic pain patients experience being limited in daily activities. The standard approach to treating pain - acetaminophen, NSAIDs, opioids, and gabapentinoids - may be effective at treating acute pain but appear to provide inconsistent and often unsatisfactory relief of chronic pain. In addition, increased opioid use has led to the growing opioid epidemic in the U.S. In an effort to improve efficacy in treating chronic pain, medical providers, researchers, and patients have been exploring the potential use of herbs and supplements in the treatment of pain. Multiple metaanalyses have shown promising results, however, the trials available for review are often associated with study design issues such as: small sample sizes, lack of patient compliance, and inconsistencies among comparable trials. Therefore, the conclusion of these studies is mostly inconclusive and call for better designed trials with larger sample size. In this setting, Corydalis yanhusuo is interesting as it has been used safely as part of Chinese medicine for treating pain. Recently, C.yanhusuo has been shown to mitigate pain due to inflammation and neuropathy without displaying tolerance effect. In this review, the rationale for considering C.yanhusuo as a possible treatment for chronic pain is explored.

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