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Plant Family:



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Paeoniaceae is native to central and eastern Asia. From eastern Tibet across northern China to eastern Siberia. Paeonia lactiflora has been used in China since 900 BC for blood and liver support as well as emotional balance. It’s nutritive properties is help reduce or remove heat from the liver and circulatory system, hence its ability to regulate menses.

Parts Used/Collection: 

The root of white peony is used medicinally

Herbal Actions: 

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Anti-viral

  • Anti-bacterial

  • Antioxidant

  • Cholesterol reduction

  • Modulation of pro-inflammatory mediators

  • Modulate blood glucose

  • Alterative

  • Emmenagogue

  • Nervine

  • Anti-allergic prevention of mast cell activation

  • Spasmolytic

  • Mild sedative

  • Ovarian tonic

  • Anti-androgenic


  • PCOS

  • Infertility

  • Endometriosis

  • Ovarian dysfunction

  • Immune dysfunction.


White peony is safety class 1-contraindications are allergic reactions, and it’s important to note that it may inhibit platelet aggregation.

Plant Constituents: 

Major classes of phytochemicals are:

Monoterpene glycosides (Paeoniflorin - the constituent that’s most concentrated, Paeonilactone A/B/C):  Water, low-medium % Etoh

Tannins: hot water, low % Etoh

Flavonoids: water, medium % Etoh


  • Paeoniflorin - affects the ovarian follicle, acting on the aromatase enzyme.  Through this mechanism, this compound reduces circulating androgens (decreases testosterone production  from the ovaries but not the adrenal gland), modulates estrogen and prolactin, and increases progesterone.  End result from this is that it can improve PCOS, infertility, endometriosis, ovarian failure, etc.
  • Paeoniflorin & 8-debenzoylpaenofilorin decrease blood glucose while also increasing plasma insulin levels.  This is helpful in midwifery care for those struggling with PCOS or other glycemic control issues.

  • TGP group (more than 15 monoterpene glycosides found in peony) demonstrate strong immune modulation and anti-inflammatory action.  This is relevant for midwifery care, as pre-existing immune dysfunction can impact fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum health. These compounds can be integrated into a pre-pregnancy fertility formula to bring the immune dysfunction into balance and optimize health.


System Affinities:

  • GU: helps dissolve kidney stones,

  • GI: Hepatitis, H. Pylori, reduce AST/ALT Excellent liver affinity

  • Cardiovascular: artherlosclerosis

  • MSK: muscle cramps, arthritis

  • Respiratory: whooping cough

  • Integumentary: HSV, eczema, dermatitis

  • CNS: epilepsy, migraine, neuralgia

  • Endocrine: PCOS, PMS, stimulate insulin secretion, reduce HgbA1C


White peony has cooling, sweet, bitter, and astringent energetics


AHPA lists white peony as safety class 1, interaction class A. This as we know, is the safest of herbal categories. There have been reports of people who are allergic to white peony and there have been animal studies that suggest the use of the herb can inhibit thrombosis and platelet aggregation. However, there have been no known cases of this occurring in humans, but they still caution taking peony when the person is taking anticoagulant drugs.


Paeonia lactiflora can be formulated as a tincture or as a decoction with the root. According to Yarnell (2005), in acute situations, 3-4g of peony can be taken three to four times per day, in decoction or powdered form. When prepared as a tincture, typically peony is prepared in the 1:3-1:5 ratio in 30% EtOH and can be taken 2-3 mL four times per day.



American Botanical Council. (2000). Fenugreek seed. Accessed online at


Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone


Parker, et al. (2016). A pharmacological review of bioactive constituents of Paeonia lactiflora pallas and Paeoniaveitchii Lynch. Phytotherapy Research 30(9):1445-73.


Yarnell (2005). Peony for women’s healthy and beyond. Accessed online at


Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

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