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Red Peony Root

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 6, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Red Peony Root

The Red Peony is a flowering plant that is native in Asia, the western part of North America and the southern parts of Europe. It is a widely harvested plant for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. The Red Peony flower is considered to be a beautiful ornament but it is mainly the root part of the plant that is used for alternative medicine

Origin and History

The Red Peony was named after Asclepius, a Greek god of healing. There are actually many types of peony plants and all of which are classified according to their growth habit and flower type. The peonies have a long history in China where it was used as a national emblem along with the plum blossom. It is considered to be a highly valued flower in the country and was highly cultivated, especially in the province of Louyang. In Japan, the plant, more particularly the root, was used for medicinal purposes.

Ancient Uses

As mentioned before, peonies were considered more as an ornamental flower in China. It was declared as the country’s national flower during the Qing Dynasty and was heavily cultivated in the Louyang province. Up until today, flower exhibitions are being held in the area to showcase the beauty of peonies in the province. The use of red peonies as an alternative medicine was more popularized in Japan. The root was mainly harvested to treat convulsions.

Modern Uses

Red peonies have been subject to several biochemical and clinical tests and were found to contain considerable amounts of essential substances. Currently over 262 compounds have been identified from the plants – which includes antioxidants, flavonoids, tannins, steroids, phenols and many others. Today, red peonies are commercially available in capsule form. These capsules are known to prevent and treat various diseases from muscle cramps, liver cirrhosis, diabetes and dysmenorrhea.
Further research is showing that the plant also has good potential as treatment for dementia – although tests have only gone far as animal studies. They also have antioxidant and immune boosting properties that make them great dietary supplements. Current tests have also shown that red peonies have potential in controlling blood pressure as well.

Side-Effects or Cautions

Because of the lack of clinical tests and monitoring, there have been no side effects associated with the use of red peonies as an alternative medicine or a supplement. Given that the substance is used in the proper dosages, then there should be nothing to worry about. But still, pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from the substance during this period in time for the safety of the baby. Those with pre-existing conditions such as heart illnesses should use the alternative medicine with caution as well. If possible, turn to a professional medical expert and ask for advice before using the supplement.

Because of the lack of clinical tests, the mechanism of action and the full benefits that red peonies hold are still unknown. But fortunately, more and more studies are underway that seek to discover the many medicinal properties that the plant has to offer. So for now, just make sure that you use the commercially available products with caution and at the right dosages for your safety and health.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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