Herb latin name: Corydalis cava

Synonyms: Corydalis bulbosa

Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Medicinal use of Corydalis cava:

The tuber is antispasmodic, hallucinogenic and also slows the pulse. It is harvested in the spring before the plant comes into flower and dried for later use. The plant should only be used under the guidance of a trained herbalist, it is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders. One report says that the plant is cultivated for its medicinal uses in Sweden, but gives no more details. The following reports are for C. yanhusuo which, according to one authority, is the correct name for this species. It is treated as a separate species here. The tuber is analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic and sedative. The root has traditionally been used to lower pain and strengthen the circulation. It also has sedative properties and is used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. Various extracts from the plant have shown antitussive, cardiotonic, hypotensive and anticancer activity.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Shady forests, rarely amongst shrubs.

Propagation of Corydalis cava:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe, the seed rapidly loses viability if it is allowed to become dry. Surface sow and keep moist, it usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15C. Germinates in spring according to another report. Two months warm, then a cold stratification improves the germination of stored seed. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be allowed to grow undisturbed in the pot for their first year. Apply liquid feed at intervals during their growing season to ensure they are well fed. The seedlings only produce one leaf in their first year of growth and are very prone to damping off. Divide the seedlings into individual pots once they have become dormant and grow them on in a partially shaded area of a greenhouse for at least another year. Plant them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant. Division after flowering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shady forests, rarely amongst shrubs.

Known hazards of Corydalis cava:

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, there is a report that Corydalis species are potentially toxic in moderate doses.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.