Paeonia officinalis

With a recorded history that dates back thousands of years, it’s not surprising that even the mythology surrounding the origin of the peony has multiple versions.

One legend has it that the peony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story of that same physician who was “saved” from the fate of dying as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today as the peony.

PeonyThe traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of Indiana, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower, peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.

Peony as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The dried root of 3 to 4 year old white peony is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine for diseases of the “liver.”

Peony root treats menstrual cramps and irregularities. It is also used in combination with other herbs to ease emotional nervous conditions, dizziness, blurred vision, menstrual cramping, dysmenorrhea and pain associated with unresolved emotional issues. It should be used only under the guidance of a professional, as it can be toxic if taken incorrectly.

Used with cinnamon, peony treats upper respiratory infection.

Used with any source of calcium, it can be used by itself to treat hot flashes.

Although beads can be made from the petals, please remember the plant is toxic and observe common sense precautions! You might wish to try rose beads as a safer alternative.

Culinary Uses of Peony

Currently not recommened for culinary purposes due to its toxicity. A tea made from the petals can be fatal! You must know how to use peony correctly.


Should be avoided by persons who have diarrhea due to AIDS or cancer.

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