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Corydalis 5 is a prescription intended to deliver a substantial dosage of the individual herb corydalis, which is the prominent pain relieving herb of the Chinese Materia Medica that is still available for use. In the older pain formulations prescribed in China, there were ingredients that are now restricted, including those which are toxic or addictive, such as papaver (opium poppy), datura, centipede, and scorpion. Corydalis is a relative of the opium poppy that contains alkaloids which are non-addictive, yet analgesic. The traditional Peony and Licorice Combination (Shaoyao Gancao Tang), comprised of equal amounts of those two herbs, is the basic formula for treating spastic pain (these herbs are included in Coptis/Evodia Tablets for the same purpose). Also included in Corydalis 5 is the traditional Pteropus and Bulrush Combination (Shixiao San), made of equal amounts of those two herbs (bulrush is another name for typha), used for abdominal pain, menstrual pain, and pain due to injuries (these two are also in Lower Palace Tablets for abdominal pain due to cold stagnation). The resulting formula can be used for a wide range of pain disorders; it is not as strong as morphine for extreme pain, as occurs immediately after bone injury or with cancer metastasized to the bone (in such cases drug therapy should be relied upon), but it can be used as a possible replacement for milder pain drugs for other conditions and it will provide anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and blood vitalizing effects. These actions may be helpful in resolving the condition that is producing pain. For peripheral pain, consider Angelica 14, Chiang-huo 13, or Qi Ye Pian (Pine Mountain).
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