Common Name: Peony
Latin Name: Paeonia officinalis
My favourite June Bloom peonies bless us with their bright beautiful blossoms in late spring.
There are over forty varieties of peonies, but only medicinal peonies demonstrate therapeutic health benefits.
Called the blessed herb, peonies have been used for centuries for their magical and medicinal properties.
Peony is the Greek symbol of healing and the Japanese symbol for a happy marriage and virility. When the flowers are in bloom, I will often put a bouquet in my bedroom to foster and attract love.
The Chinese have grown this flower for over 2,000 years and is an important medicinal plant in China. The name for it there is “Baishao”, which means “the beautiful,” and it is considered the flower of prosperity. Medicinally the Chinese use the root of the Peony in cases of Yin deficiency when there is excess heat, hence, the peony is used for calming, cooling, sedating, and stagnation.
Among the other powers the peony was thought to possess was on fertility and the reproductive system.
The name Peony comes form Ancient Greek Mythology the Greek God of Peon (God of medicine & healing). It is said that Leo, the goddess of fertility told Paeon about a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of a woman in childbirth. When Paeon went to get this root, Asclepius became jealous and angry and threatened to kill his pupil. Leto begged help from Zeus, who saved Paeon from the wrath of his teacher by changing him into the peony flower.
Roots, petals & seeds
Rich in rich in unsaturated fatty acids linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid, monoterpene glycosides and phenolic compounds
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, sedative, anti-bacterial
Historically, peonies have been used for their antispasmodic properties, to treat epilepsy and prevent seizures. It has been used for nervous conditions, convulsions and to calm spasms of all types (muscle, abdominal, whooping cough, uterine cramping, and migraines).
Its warming action is helpful for colds and flus, respiratory congestion and sore throats. Peony flowers are used to prepare a soothing syrup that is effective against coughing.
As a carminative, it promotes gastric secretions and is used in flatulence and colic. The roots antispasmodic, analgesic and sedative properties soothe digestive tract and gastric pain, helping one to fall asleep and extending sleeping cycles. Hence, they can also be recommended for irritability and restlessness.
Peony has been used extensively with women's reproductive health for symptoms associated with PMS, heavy bleeding, and menstrual camping. It helps relieve pelvic stagnation that results in cramping and bloating along with helping with acne prior to menses.
It has been used throughout history in labor to relax the mother, reduce cramps, facilitate labor and expel the placenta after childbirth. It is however contraindicated for use throughout pregnancy due to it antispasmodic actions. Further helping women, Peony can be an ally through the changes associated with menopause, specifically, it can cool menopausal women who are hot and woken up by night sweats.
Peony extract is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Its seeds boast a compound call paeonol which is thought to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory, making it useful in a variety of skin applications especially with helping with oxidative damage. It is considered ideal for helping to brighten the complexion and improve firmness.