✵The article gives records of the herb Peony, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Paeonia officinalis L., ②.Paeonia mascula (L.) Miller., 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 Peony, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
English Name: Peony.
Latin Name: Paeonia officinalis L.emend.Willd., or Paeonia mascula (L.) Miller s.l.L.
Common Names: King of flowers, Piney.
Property and flavor: cool in nature, tastes bitter and sour.
Brief introduction: Peony is a fragrant and sumptuous flower, its name has relations with the physician of the Greed gods Paeon, it flowers in early summer, with pink, purple-red, and white blossoms. It has been valued since ancient times as a decorative and medicinal plant. The flowers, roots, and seeds are used medicinally.
Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Peony as the flowers or roots of the species (1).Paeonia officinalis L., or (2).Paeonia mascula (L.) Miller. They are plant species of the Paeonia genus, the Paeoniaceae family (peony family). The flowers and roots are used medicinally. These two commonly used species are introduced:
(1).Paeonia officinalis L.
Botanical description: Paeonia officinalis has a turniplike rhizome and close, gnarled root fibers that are brown on the outside and white inside in its winter state. The stem is leafy, upright, lightly branched, and glabrous, with a stalk about 50 cm high. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, with a dark green glossy upper surface and a light green finely pubescent undersurface.
The large flowers are solitary at the ends of the stems. The calyx consists of 5 green, partly corolla-like sepals. The wild species has 5 to 8 ovate red petals 4 to 5 cm long; the cultivated forms have many more. The stamens are light-red with long yellow anthers. The 2 or 3 ovaries have red stigmas and develop into tomentose follicles containing numerous, dark, glossy, pea-sized seeds.
Ecological environment: Paeonia officinalis is a native of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, as far as Asia Minor, peony grows in mountain woodlands and is cultivated as a garden plant.
(2).Paeonia mascula (L.) Miller.
Botanical description: Paeonia mascula is a herbaceous perennial plant, it grows up to 0.5~1.5 meters tall, it is also known as wild peony, leaves are divided into three segments and large red flowers in late spring and early summer. Paeonia mascula flowers for just 1 week of the year, normally in May or June.
Ecological environment: Paeonia mascula grows in bushy places in meadows and hills. Oak, pine, and beech forest, often amongst bracken, or on rocky limestone slopes that are north-facing. Paeonia mascula is native to China, Europe, Morocco, Spain, Greece, and Turkey this wild peony has become naturalized on two small islands in United Kingdom.
Growth characteristics: Paeonia mascula prefers acid and neutral soils, can grow in semi-shade, and tolerates drought. Ideal conditions are light sandy soils.
Characters of herbs: Peony flower is the petals of paeonia officinalis or Paeonia mascula, peony root is the dried secondary roots of these. The cultivated peony roots are dug up in spring, cleaned, and dried in the sun or artificially. The flowers are harvested in dry weather shortly after the end of flowering and dried quickly in the shade or in moderate sunshine.
The peony roots and flowers both contain astringent tannins, it explains why they were once used to treat skin eruptions, tannins constrict tissue and reduce oozing and bleeding, its main component is paeonidin-3,5-diglucoside.
The peony roots have a strong uterine contraction, it lowers blood pressure, boosts strong uterine contraction, and tone reduction in the gastrointestinal tract.
Medicinal efficacy: Traditionally, peony root is used as an antispasmodic and sedative, for epilepsy and nervous conditions, internal upset, whooping cough, and arthritis. Flowers are used for skin and mucous membrane disorders including anal fissures, heart trouble, stomach upset, respiratory tract ailments, and nervous disorders, in combination with other herbs. The seeds were used as a kitchen spice to induce vomiting and stimulate menstrual flow. In homeopaths, it is recommended minute amounts for phlebitis or vein inflammation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and many other conditions. In folk medicine, the peony flower was used for epilepsy, as an emetic, emmenagogue, and abortifacient, for skin disease and mucous membranes, fissures, anal fissures associated with hemorrhoids, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and ailments of the respiratory tract. The peony root is used for neurasthenia and neurasthenia syndrome, neuralgia, migraines, and allergic disorders such as excitability, epilepsy, and whooping cough, it is used for cramps and rheumatism.
Administration of Peony (Paeonia officinalis):
Administration Guide of Peony (Paeonia officinalis)
Herbal classic books:
Dosage: An infusion is prepared by pouring boiling water over 1 teaspoon, about 1 gram of the flowers, letting it steep for five to ten minutes, then straining it. To make an infusion of peony flowers, use 1 gram peony flowers per cup of water, and drink one cup of flower infusion per day. The flower should be stored protected from light and moisture for no longer than 1 year. The root tincture is recommended 30 to 50 drops daily. The root should be stored protected from light and moisture for no longer than 1 year.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Exercise caution in taking this herb, as excessive amounts of the flowers, roots, or seeds can cause vomiting, colic, diarrhea, and other complications. Most herbalists recommend taking it only under professional supervision. Pregnant women may want to take extra care in avoiding peony, as it was used traditionally for stimulating menstruation.