The Medicinal Uses of Peonies

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Peonies are still widely used in Eastern medicine, however, it hasn’t been used in Western medicine in many years.

There are three main species of peony that are used by today’s herbalists: white peony (P. lactiflora), red peony (P. officinalis), and moutan peony (P. suffruticosa).  White and red peonies are herbaceous peonies and herbalists will often use them intermittently. White versus red peony in modern herbalism refers to the condition of the roots. Peony roots that still have their reddish coloring intact are referred to as red peony. Roots that have had the red bark peeled away and have been lightly boiled, sliced, and dried, are called white peony.  Moutan is the root of a tree-like species of peony.

White Peony

White peony is thought to be quite beneficial to the blood and increases circulation. It is often used for gynecological purposes such as dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), irregular menses, anemia, and PMS.

Studies have shown that white peony has effects in arresting muscle spasms, relieving pain and fever, anti-hypoxia, anti-inflammatory, liver protection, immune regulation, regulating blood sugar, improving blood circulation, expanding blood vessels, and inhibiting blood platelet clotting. It is also thought to have anti-aging properties.

Red Peony

Leaving the skin of the roots intact results in a herb that is used for bleeding or lack of blood movement, depending on how it was prepared. The root skin causes the herb to behave in a manner that makes it useful for clearing bruises and swelling from traumatic injuries

Moutan Peony

Moutan was also considered helpful for problems characterized by bleeding, such as nosebleeds, bleeding wounds, or menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding). It is used medicinally for fevers, colds, nervous disorders, hemorrhages, headaches and menstrual difficulties.

There is still much research being done to isolate compounds in peonies and evaluate their medicinal potential. Some research has suggested that peonies have several useful compounds that may be used in modern drugs to help treat diseases.

Like most supplements, you should not begin using peony in any of its forms without first consulting with your physician.

Resources:

http://www.indieherbalist.com/journal/cherished-flower-cherished-root-forgotten-history-of-the-peony

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/peony.htm

http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-3658006

 

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