Introduction of Chi Shao:Red Peony Root or Radix Paeoniae Rubra.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Red Peony Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Paeonia lactiflora Pall., ②.Paeonia veitchii Lynch., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Red Peony Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Paeoniae Rubra(Red Peony Root).

dried herb slices of Red Peony Root are piled together Pin Yin Name: Chì Sháo.
 English Name: Red Peony Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Paeoniae Rubra.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Paeoniae Rubra is the dried root of Paeonia lactiflora Pall.or Paeonia veitchii Lynch, used to remove stagnated blood and dispel heat from the blood for the treatment of epidemic febrile diseases with eruptions, pain due to blood stasis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, traumatic injuries, boils and sores. The herb is commonly known as Radix Paeoniae Rubra, Red Peony Root, Chì Sháo.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Paeoniae Rubra (Red Peony Root) is the dried root of Paeonia lactiflora Pall., or Paeonia veitchii Lynch, they are plants of the Paeonia genus, the Paeoniaceae family (peony family) of the Saxifragales order. These two commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Paeonia lactiflora Pall.

 many flowering plants of Paeonia lactiflora Pall grow  together with purple red flowers Botanical description: The plant, Paeonia lactiflora Pall is a plant of the Paeoniaceae family (peony family) and Paeonia genus, it is also known as Paeonia albiflora Pall., it is commonly known as Paeonia lactiflora, White Peony, or Shao Yao, a perennial flowering herb, the plant grows up to 40~70 cm tall, glabrous. Its main root is hypertrophic, fusiform (spindle-shaped), or cylindrical, black brown. The stem is upright, the upper part is branched, and several sheath-shaped membranous scales grow on the base. Leaves are alternate; the petiole is up to 9 cm long, leaves on the stem top end have shorter petiole; leaves on the lower stem are biternate compound leaves, leaves on the upper stem are trifoliolate leaves; leaflets are narrowly ovate, elliptic or lanceolate, 7.5~12 cm long, 2~4 cm wide, the apex is acuminate, the base is cuneate or deflect, the edge has white cartilaginous teeth, both sides are glabrous, sparse pubescence grows along the leaf vein on the undersurface, almost coriaceous (subcoriaceous).

 Flowers are hermaphroditic, several flowers grow on stem top or in the leaf axil, 7~12 cm in diameter; 4~5 flower bracts, lanceolate, different in size; 4 sepals (calyx lobes), broad-ovate or orbicular, 1~1.5 cm long, 1~1.7 cm wide, green, persistent; 9~13 petals, obovate, 3.5~6 cm long, 1.5~4.5 cm wide, white, sometimes base has modena (dark purple or deep purple) patches or pink, cultivated species has variously colored flowers and has polyphyll; many stamens, filaments are 7~12 mm long, anther is yellow; the floral disc is shallow cyathiform (cotyloid), wrap the base of carpels, apex lobes are blunt; 2~5 carpels, separate, glabrous.

 Follicles are oval (egg-shaped) or ovoid, 2.5~3 cm long, 1.2~1.5 cm in diameter, the apex has a rostrum (beak). Its flowering period is from May to June, and the fruiting period is from June to August.

 a flowering plant of Paeonia mairei Levl with three pink flowers Ecological environment: Paeonia lactiflora Pall grows in the grass on hillsides and forests. The plant is mainly distributed in the northern, and northwest areas, it is cultivated in cities and counties, villages and small towns, in China.

 Growth characteristics: Paeonia lactiflora Pall prefers a warm and humid climate, cold-resistant, resistant to drought, and avoids water logging. Better to choose a field with sufficient sunlights, deep soil layers, good drainage, fertile, loose, loam soil, or sandy loam rich in humus for cultivation. One should not choose saline and alkaline land, waterlogged lowland. It should avoid continuous cropping, and it can rotate with Carthamus tinctorius, Chrysanthemum and legumes.

 many dried herb slices of Red Peony Root Characters of herbs: The herb is cylindrical, slightly curved, 10~40 cm long, and 0.6~3 cm in diameter. The surface is brown or black palm, coarse and rough, with thick and slightly twisted vertical wrinkles and laterally protruding lenticels; the outer root bark is easy to fall off. The texture of the herb is hard and brittle (crisp), easily broken, the fracture surface is flat, pink-white or yellow-white, the cortex is narrow, dark color, and the radial texture of the xylem (wood part) is conspicuous, sometimes has cracks. The herb smells slightly fragrant, it tastes slightly bitter and puckery. The herb of a better grade has thick and long stripes, and the fracture surface is pink-white, has much powder.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.enhance the synthesis of hepatocyte DNA, promote the infiltration of 3H-thymine nucleotide into hepatocytes; ②.dilate the coronary artery and have a protective effect on acute myocardial ischemia; ③.decoction, paeoniflorin can resist platelet aggregation, antithrombotic formation; ④.paeoniflorin has weak anti-inflammatory effects, analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and anticonvulsant effects, anti-ulcer and antihypertensive effects, and can resist smooth muscle spasm caused by acetylcholine.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and cool blood, dissipate stasis, and relieve pain. It is indicated for febrile virulent maculae, hematemesis and epistaxis, discharging fresh blood stool, red eyes and swelling pain in the eye, depression of the liver and pain in hypochondria, menischesis and dysmenorrhea, abdominal mass and abdominal pain, injury from falling down, hernia and abdominal mass, stagnation and stasis, carbuncle swelling and abscess.

 Administration of Radix Paeoniae Rubra (Chì Sháo): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Paeoniae Rubra (Chì Sháo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 6~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 4~10 grams, or prepared to pill, powder.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Radix Paeoniae Rubra should not be combined with black false hellebore, should be used cautiously in conditions blood deficiency without blood stasis and broken ulcer.

(2).Paeonia veitchii Lynch.

 several flowering plants of Paconia lactiflora Pall.var.trichocarpa Bunge Stern with small purple flowers Botanical description: The plant, Paeonia veitchii Lynch is a plant of the Paeoniaceae family (peony family) and Paeonia genus, it is commonly known as trichocarpous peony, Mao Guo Chi Shao (means trichocarpous peony), or Tiao Chi Shao (means strip red peony). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~120 cm. The root is cylindrical, single or branched, 1.5~2 cm in diameter. The stem is upright, has a thick and blunt edge, and glabrous. Leaves alternate; petioles are 3~9 cm long; leaves on the lower part of the stem are biternate compound leaves, leaf blade outline is broad-ovate, 7.5~20 cm long; leaflets are pinnate, lobes are narrow-lanceolate or lanceolate, 4~16 mm wide, the apex is acuminate, entire, the upper surface is dark green, pubescence sparsely grow along leaf veins, the undersurface is pale green (pea green), glabrous, leaf veins are conspicuous.

 Flowers are hermaphroditic, 2~4 flowers, grow on the top end of the stem and in the leaf axil, usually, only 1 flower is in bloom, 4.2~10 cm in diameter; 2~3 flower bracts, lanceolate, 3~7 cm long, parted or not parted; 4 sepals (calyx lobes), broad-ovate, 1.7 cm long, 1~1.4 cm wide, green, persistent; 6~9 flower petals, obovate, 2.3~4 cm long, 1.5~3 cm wide, violet red (purple-red) or pink; many stamens, filaments are 5~10 mm long, anther is yellow; the floral disc is succulent, only wrap the base of carpel; 2~5 carpels, separate, densely covered with yellow fluff, style is persistent.

 Follicles are 1~2 cm long, densely covered with yellow fluff, mature fruit cracks, often retroflexed. Its flowering period is from May to June, and the fruiting period is from July to August.

 Ecological environment: Paeonia veitchii Lynch grows in forests on mountain slopes and roadsides or forest edges, in areas at altitudes of 1,800 ~ 3,700 meters above sea level. The plant is mainly distributed in the northwest and southwest areas of China.



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  • 1.Introduction of Chi Shao:Red Peony Root or Radix Paeoniae Rubra.

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