Herb: Fumewort

Latin name: Corydalis solida

Synonyms: Corydalis bulbosa, Corydalis halleri

Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Medicinal use of Fumewort:

Fumewort has been used as a painkiller in Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years. The tuber is anodyne, antibacterial, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, nervine and sedative. It is used internally as a sedative for insomnia and as a stimulant and painkiller, especially in painful menstruation, traumatic injury and lumbago. It is also used for lowering the blood pressure. Research suggests that it also has an action in the thyroid and adrenal cortex. The tuber should not be prescribed for pregnant women. The tubers are harvested when the plant is dormant and are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, hedgerows, meadows, orchards and vineyards, usually on stony soils, avoiding calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Fumewort:

Root - boiled. Rich in starch. Some caution is advised, there is a report that the plant is toxic.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Fumewort:

Woods, hedgerows, meadows, orchards and vineyards, usually on stony soils, avoiding calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Corydalis solida:

The plant is poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.