Corydalis: Corydalis aurea, Scrambled Eggs, Golden Corydalis


Corydalis is an annual or biennial herb which prefers Moist to dry grasslands, meadows, clearings, gravelly hillsides and forest openings. Corydalis prefers soil which is shady, rich and cool. However, Corydalis is sensitive to over-watering. The plant grows to about 12” tall and approximately 12” wide. The yellow flowers will reach about ¾” long when in full bloom. The best time to see these flowers is in the spring.


Although up to 20 alkaloids have been extracted from the plant, Tetrahydropalmatine (THP) is considered to be the most potent. It has shown to affect the central nervous system with pain relieving and calming effects. dl-THP is said to block certain receptor sites in the brain, to cause sedation.

Fun Fact:

Corydalis gained the nickname “scrambled eggs” because the yellow flowers look like little bunches of scrambled eggs hanging off of the stems.


The Navaho used Corydalis for a variety of illnesses, including rheumatism, diarrhea, stomachaches, sore throats, and as a general disinfectant. The root is set on hot coals, and the smoke is inhaled to clear the head and revive the patient.


Today, corydalis is used for mild depression, severe nerve damage, and limb tremors. It is also used to lower blood pressure, relax the small intestines, and as a mild tranquilizer.  The root is set on hot coals, and the smoke is inhaled to clear the head and revive the patient.


“For an analgesic or sedative effect, the crude, dried rhizome is usually recommended at 5–10 grams per day. Alternatively, one can take 10–20 ml per day of a 1:2 extract.” For the “golden smoke,” a sufficient amount of roots are placed upon hot coals.

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions:


References Cited:

1. "Corydalis aurea Willd.” United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service. 21 Oct 2009. <>

2. Authors, Healthnotes. “Corydalis.” 2004. Healthnotes. 21 Oct 2009. <>

3. plntpolice. 2009. “Corydalis: Dainty Native Perennial for Your Woodland Garden.” Associated Content. 21 Oct 2009. <

4. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2009. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 21 Oct 2009. <>

5. Knoke, Dan. “Corydalis aurea.” WTU Herbarium Collection. 2006. The Burke Museum. 21 Oct 2009. <

6. “Corydalis aurea.” Flora of North America. 21 Oct 2009. <>

7. “Corydalis aurea.” University of Michigan – Dearborn. University of Michigan. 21 Oct 2009. <>

8. “Corydalis aurea Willd. Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. 2008. University of Texas at Austin. 21 Oct 2009. <> 

9. Fedde Publication. “Corydalis aurea.” 2009. 21 Oct 2009. <>

10.Natural Medicines, Comprehensive Database. "Corydalis". Pharmacist's Letter . 21 Oct 2009 <10.>.

11. George MacDonald, Ph.D., A Dictionary of Natural Products. Plexus: New Jersey, 1997.