The Gentle World Of White Peony: 7 Remarkable Uses

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The Gentle World Of White Peony: 7 Remarkable Uses
The Gentle World Of White Peony: 7 Remarkable Uses
KayaWell Expert

In an inspiring example of beauty going more than skin deep, the white peony (root of the legendary peony plant) is taking the medical world by storm with its gentle, purifying properties. This herbal remedy has shown remarkable results in people suffering with a variety of chronic, debilitating conditions.

White Peony (Bai Shao Yao) is thought to be the oldest and most important herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The flower of this long-lived perennial comes in a variety of colors and has been admired all over the world for centuries, due to its exquisite beauty.

Yet, as wise Chinese herbalists have always known, the peony’s true beauty stems from the potent root of the peony plant (called white peony when stripped of its outer bark).

“White peony is a very popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine,” says Sarah Neidhardt, a licensed acupuncturist in Cleveland, Ohio. “It works best when combined carefully with other herbs in specific formulations, where the herbs can enhance and even subtly change each other,” she explains.

1. Reproductive Rescuer

An old Chinese proverb states, “A woman who regularly consumes white peony becomes as beautiful as the flower itself.”

White Peony is almost always included in formulations for women’s reproductive concerns,” says Neidhardt. She jokes that white peony containing Xiao Yao San (loosely translated as “free and easy wanderer”), a popular Chinese herbal formula for PMS, is known in America as “Bitch Be Gone.” The formula includes white peony.

While most women (and men!) will appreciate the soothing, antidepressant effects of the Xiao Yao San formula, white peony is also used to treat more severe reproductive disorders, such as dysmenorrhea (painful periods), endometriosis, and polycystic uterine syndrome.

The constituents in white peony (especially when used in combination with other fertility herbs such as Bupleurum and Dang Gui) are very effective as a gentle, yet potent, treatment for chronic reproductive conditions and fertility issues.

2. Calms Mind, Induces Sleep

While the causes for insomnia and anxiety have many roots, they are sometimes triggered by deficiency in the blood. In a holistic TCM approach, white peony is often prescribed (in combination with other herbs) to help nourish and regenerate the blood, which frees up the spirit, inducing a more restful sleep and relaxed mind.

3. Balances Immune System

People suffering from painful autoimmune diseases suffer from an out of balance immune system. Paeoniflorin, the foremost active ingredient in white peony, has been shown to have dual-acting properties that help balance an out-of-control immune system. Numerous studies have shown remarkable positive results when patients are treated with paeoniflorin. Paeoniflorin also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and is often used to treat chronic painful autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriasis.

4. Curbs Cramping

White peony is known to be an effective remedy for cramps and muscles spasms of the lower body. Aside from treating premenstrual cramping, it is also commonly used to reduce painful muscle spasms in the lower extremities.

5. Liver Lover

In Chinese herbalism, liver theory is a fascinating, complex topic. Suffice it to say that a healthy, happy liver is incredibly important to a healthy, happy human. Neidhardt recommends white peony as an herb to help pacify an overactive, overheated liver.

So how do you know if your liver is overheated? Headaches, teeth grinding, and tension in your neck and shoulders are a good indication. An angry liver can also lead to angry outbursts and heated emotions such as jealousy and frustration.

6. No Sweat!

White peony is commonly prescribed to help those who suffer from either excessive daytime sweating (hyperhidrosis) as well as night sweats. It’s often combined with cinnamon twig, oyster shell, and/or arborvitae seed.

7. Blood Builder

White peony is best known for it’s amazing blood building and cleansing abilities.

“In Chinese Medicine, blood has a much broader meaning than just blood,” says Neidhardt. She stressed the importance of the concepts of Yin and Yang and how they affect a person’s Qi (energy flow).  

However, you don’t have to be an expert in traditional Chinese medicine to realize how important good blood is to overall health! In fact, the reason why white peony is so good at treating so many chronic, painful conditions is, in large part, due to it’s amazing ability to regenerate and purify the blood.

“There is a very ancient Chinese herbal formula that includes white peony called gui zhi tang,” Neidhardt says. “It is great for building blood and also for fighting the common cold, and alleviating symptoms such as aches, fever, and congestion.”