Bai Shao, Chi Shao, Chinese Peony, Common Peony, Coral Peony, Cortex Moutan, European Peony, Jiu Chao Bai Shao, Moutan, Mu Dan Pi, Paeonia, Paeonia alba, Paeonia albiflora, Paeonia anomala, Paeonia arborea, Paeonia arietina, Paeonia beresowskii, Paeonia caucasica, Paeonia corallina, Paeonia coriacea, Paeonia daurica, Paeonia japonica, Paeonia kavachensis, Paeonia lactiflora, Paeonia mascula, Paeonia microcarpa, Paeonia moutan, Paeonia obovata, Paeonia officinalis, Paeonia paradoxa, Paeonia suffruticosa, Paeonia triternata, Paeonia veitchii, Paeonia willmottiae, Paeonia woodwardii, Paeoniae Flos, Paeoniae Radix, Peonía, Peony Flower, Peony Root, Piney, Pivoine, Pivoine Arbustive, Pivoine Blanche, Pivoine Commune, Pivoine de Chine, Pivoine des Jardins, Pivoine en Arbre, Pivoine Moutan, Pivoine Officinale, Pivoine Rouge, Racine de Pivoine, Radix Paeoniae, Radix Paeoniae Alba, Radix Paeoniae Rubra, Radix Peony, Red Peony, Shakuyaku, Shao Yao, Tree Peony, Ud Saleeb, Udsalam, Udsalap, White Peony.


Overview Information

Peony is a plant. The root and, less commonly, the flower and seed are used to make medicine. Peony is sometimes called red peony and white peony. This refers to the color of the processed root, not the color of the flowers.

Peony is used for menstrual cramps, a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS), autoimmune disorders, healing cracked skin, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Peony might block chemicals produced by the body that can cause muscle cramps. It may also prevent blood clotting and act as an antioxidant.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Aging skin. Peony contains a chemical called paeoniflorin. Early research shows that applying a specific cosmetic product containing 0.5% paeoniflorin for 8 weeks might reduce facial wrinkles.
  • Kidney damage in people with diabetes (diabetic nephropathy). Early research shows that taking peony by mouth together with the medication losartan for 6 months does not improve kidney function in Chinese adults with kidney damage due to type 2 diabetes.
  • High levels of a hormone called prolactin in the blood (hyperprolactinemia). Some people who take antipsychotic medications can develop hyperprolactinemia. The effect of peony in these people is not clear. Although early research shows that taking a combination of peony and licorice daily for 4 weeks can reduce prolactin levels, not all research agrees.
  • Arthritis in children (juvenile idiopathic arthritis). Some evidence shows that taking peony with the drug methotrexate for 9 weeks or more might improve symptoms in children with JIA better than taking methotrexate alone. However, most of this research is flawed. More evidence is needed to determine the benefit of peony for RA.
  • Muscle cramps. Early research shows that taking a specific combination of peony and licorice (shakuyaku-kanzo-to) might ease muscle cramps in people with liver cirrhosis and in people undergoing hemodialysis.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis). Early research shows that taking peony for 12 weeks does not appear to improve the size or severity of skin lesions caused by psoriasis. Some people might have an improvement in skin problems caused by psoriasis, but it is unclear who might benefit the most.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Some evidence in adults with RA shows that taking peony with the drug leflunomide or with the drug methotrexate might improve some blood markers of RA better than taking leflunomide or methotrexate taken alone. However, most of this research is flawed. More evidence is needed to determine the benefit of peony for RA.
  • An autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are damaged (Sjogren syndrome). Taking peony for 24 weeks might improve symptoms, including dry eye and fatigue, in some people with Sjogren syndrome. But not all research agrees. More studies are needed to see if peony can help with other symptoms, such as dry mouth and dry throat, in people with this disorder.
  • A disorder that causes leg discomfort and an irresistible urge to move the legs (restless legs syndrome or RLS).
  • A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS).
  • Breast pain (mastalgia).
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Cough.
  • Gout.
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia).
  • Infection of the airways.
  • Liver scarring (cirrhosis).
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Migraine.
  • Nerve pain (neuralgia).
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Seizure disorder (epilepsy).
  • Spasms.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the liver (hepatitis).
  • Whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of peony for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Peony is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by mouth in appropriate amounts, short-term. Peony has been used safely for up to 6 months in adults. It can cause stomach upset in some people. There isnPeony extract might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use peony.t enough reliable information to know if peony is safe or what the side effects might be when taken by mouth, long-term.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if peony is safe. It can cause rash in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Peony is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Some developing research suggests that peony can cause uterine contractions. However, other research suggests a combination of peony and angelica might be safe. Until more is known, don't use peony if you are pregnant. Also avoid peony if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about the safety of using peony while breast-feeding.

Children: Peony is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in children for up to 12 months.

Bleeding disorders: Because peony might slow blood clotting, there is a concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Don't use it if you have a bleeding disorder.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Peony extract might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use peony.

Surgery: Peony might slow blood clotting, so there is a concern that it could increase the chance of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using peony at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with PEONY

    Peony might slow blood clotting. Taking peony along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) interacts with PEONY

    Peony root might decrease the amount of phenytoin in the body. Taking peony root along with phenytoin (Dilantin) might decrease the effectiveness of phenytoin (Dilantin) and increase the risk of seizures.



The appropriate dose of peony depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for peony. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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