White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Native to Asia, white peony is related to buttercups and other members of the Ranunculaceae family. It grows into a tall plant with glossy leaves and large showy flowers. Peonies are very long-lived for a flowering plant, some have reached a hundred years of age. Peony is quite frequently used in Chinese medicine. The white variety is known as bai shao in Chinese medicine.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Peony can be used to treat menopausal symptoms and menstrual irregularities. When used with calcium, peony can be used as a single remedy to relieve hot flashes. In Chinese medicine, peony is used to tone the blood.
It can also help excessive sweating, muscle cramping, irritability and excessive vaginal discharge and menstrual bleeding. It has been used to prevent miscarriage and to treat a variety of gynecological problems. Studies have shown that peony helps normalize the functioning of the digestive system, it has laxative properties, it relieves pain, reduces spasms and seizures, lowers blood pressure by causing the arteries to dilate and improves the nutrition of the blood.
It also seems to have a good effect on anemia, some cancers, gastritis, convulsions and hypertension. It is also used for liver disease like cirrhosis and hepatitis.
Externally not used externally
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Mixed with cyperus and corydalis, it is used for menstrual cramps.
Mixed with white bupleurum root it is a good remedy for pain in the flank associated with emotional issues that are unresolved.
Peony mixed with cinnamon is a good choice for infections of the upper respiratory tract.
It can also be combined with apricot seeds, inula, clematis, ginseng, pueraria, dogwood, rehmannia and gardenia. Combining white peony with nettles and yellow dock makes a very good remedy for anemia.
Roots The root of a three to four year old peony is used either dried, chopped or in powdered form for herbal remedies.
White peony should be avoided by people who suffer from diarrhea caused by cancer or AIDS.
Pregnant women should not use white peony root, as it can cause bleeding. There are no known interactions with white peony, but if you are planning to take it, let your care provider know so they can research any possible concerns.
Preparation and Dosage
White peony root is usually combined with other herbs. You can find these combinations commercially or from a Chinese medicine practitioner. Follow the instructions you are given carefully. Typical doses may be up to 4 grams of root taken three times per day.
An herbal white tea can be made from the buds of the plant. First dry the buds, then infuse 1 heaped spoonful of the herb to a cup of boiling water, for a delicious white tea.