The Neuuropathy Chronicles
Sharp jolting stabs of burning pain across one or both feet were making it impossible for Gary to sleep. (Earlier, we touched on our search for some relief from peripheral Overview The peripheral nervous system is divided into three... More in QUARTERLY NEUROLOGY FOLLOW-UP)
Gary’s neurologist discontinued a short trial run of Lyrica due to some very off-putting side effects. Since Gary was trying to avoid the prescription pain killer road for as long as possible, we turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The History of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Neuropathy
A tincture made from boiled rhizomes of the Corydalis Yanhusuo plant has been used to treat pain since the eighth century by TCM practitioners. Modern-day researchers identified twenty alkaloids, including tetrahydropalmatine (THP), which acts as a sedative and analgesic, as well as dl-Tetrahydropalmatine, Corydaline, Protopine, Tetrahydrocortisone, Bulbocapnine, Leonticine, Corybulbine-3, and Tetrahydro Columbamine in the rhizomes.
Corydalis has a long history of use as an analgesic and antispasmodic to reduce pain. THP (tetrahydropalmatine ) acts on the central nervous system to decrease nerve pain, and researchers noted that the herb was effective in reducing nerve pain in 78% of the patients followed. TCM practitioners use Corydalis to help with Overview Superficial siderosis progression may have profound... More, restless leg syndrome as a sedative to counteract insomnia and is a listed ingredient in some TCM herbal preparations for Parkinson’s disease.1,2
The best thing about Corydalis is though it is related to the poppy family, it doesn’t cause any dependence problems, nor will you experience a drug tolerance build-up as is so often the case with traditional painkillers.
Wading Through the Sales Pitch
When you Google Corydalis, you will find hundreds of online companies offering it in so many forms it will make your head spin. You can purchase the dried root form, tablets, or capsules. For Gary, we picked an herbal blend containing Corydalis along with three other ingredients, Yan Hu Suo Pian (Corydalis Relaxetm ) 40 grams in 200 mg 5:1 strength. One tablet is equal to 1 gram of raw herb, and the suggested dose is five tablets, three times daily. The tablets are a proprietary blend containing: Rhizoma Corydalis yanhusuo, Radix Angelicae Dahuricae, Rhizoma Cyperi Rotundi, and Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong.
Is Corydalis Worth Trying?
15 tablets a day. I know you’re asking, was it worth it? The answer after three months was YES. TCM herbal blends may take some time to build to a therapeutic level in your system. The first month it was, are we wasting our money? Gary continued with the recommended dose. In the second month, something seems to be happening. One day on after, it just hit out of nowhere. The burning, stabbing, shooting pain wasn’t there. Slowly a gradual lessening of neuropathy pain had crept up, giving Gary welcome relief.
He combines the Corydalis herbal blend with one daily Alpha Lipoic Acid per the recommendation of his neurologist. This therapeutic treatment had been so successful our hematologist took down the information and dosing schedule to pass on to his oncology patients who suffered from Chemo-induced neuropathy.
Gary has had two different VA pharmacists investigate this particular blend for contradictions with deferiprone and his other prescriptions. He has never experienced any adverse effects. You should never begin any TCM herbal remedy without consulting a certified TCM practitioner or your consulting own physician.
We can’t promise everyone will have the same results, but for now, we are thankful it’s working.
Some herbal treatments used in TCM can act as medicines and be very effective but may also have serious side effects. TCM should not be used as a replacement for conventional or allopathic treatment, especially for serious conditions, but it may be beneficial when used as a complementary therapy. Since some TCM herbal medicines can interfere or be toxic when combined with Western medicines, you should inform your doctor if you are using TCM- Johns Hopkins
1 Luo Y, Wang CZ, Sawadogo R, Tan T, Yuan CS. Effects of Herbal Medicines on Pain Management. Am J Chin Med. 2020;48(1):1-16. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X20500019. PMID: 32054304.
Huang JY, Fang M, Li YJ, Ma YQ, Cai XH. [Analgesic effect of Corydalis yanhusuo in a rat model of trigeminal neuropathic pain]. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2010 Sep;30(9):2161-4. Chinese. PMID: 20855279.
2 Wu L, Zhang W, Qiu X, Wang C, Liu Y, Wang Z, Yu Y, Ye RD, Zhang Y. Identification of Alkaloids from Corydalisyanhusuo W. T. Wang as Dopamine D₁ Receptor Antagonists by Using CRE-Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay. Molecules. 2018 Oct 10;23(10):2585. doi: 10.3390/molecules23102585. PMID: 30308941; PMCID: PMC6222624.