Natural remedies for diseases and discomfort are contained in the world’s prettiest and most common flowers. Peonies, for instance, grow on shrubs in temperate regions and are often featured in gardens. People buy them as cut flowers often in late spring and early summer (x). But they contain an extract that’s been shown to have many beneficial chemical properties, which can protect against cancer, oxidative stress, cardiovascular problems, and even some skin problems (x).
What is Peony Extract?
Peony extract comes from the root of the peony flower. It’s been a part of traditional medicine for centuries in China, Korea, and Japan. It is most often referred to by the color of the processed root, and not the flower itself, such as red peony and white peony (x). It comes from the plant family Paeoniaceae and is native to East Asia, known by the scientific name Paeonia lactiflora (x, y).
Some varieties of peony bushes can grow to be tall, getting up to five feet in height, while most remain at around three feet. The bush grows huge glossy green leaves, and the peonies grow from the stems. The root itself, the piece most used in traditional medicine, might resemble a small potato (x).
What is Peony Extract Used For?
Peony root extract has been used for centuries to treat all kinds of diseases, especially for cracked or wrinkled skin (x). White peony, or bai shao as it’s called in China, has been thought to treat hypertension, muscle cramps, fever, and chest pains. Red peony, or chi shao, has been used for treating bleeding or lack of bleeding in women, depending on how the herb is prepared (x).
Other peony extract benefits have included treating fungal infections, pain, wounds, and even dementia (x). Peony root has been reputed to be good for the skin, helping to ease symptoms of topical eczema, burns, and skin inflammation (x).
Scientists attribute peony extract’s medicinal power to its powerful chemical components, such as glycoside monotherpenic peoniflorin. Other active ingredients of peony extract include proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, tannins, polysaccharides and peoniflorin (x).
Peony extract is also cold and can easily enter the liver meridian, which is responsible for filtering, nourishing, and storing blood. For centuries, its cooling properties have been used to cool liver heat, as well as heat in the blood. It can invigorate the blood, so it easily removes congealed blood and helps with blood stagnation.
Similarly, when the body loses blood and the muscles lose some of their nourishment, like during menstruation, peony extract can help alleviate that pain (x).
The research done on peony extract does not guarantee its benefits. If a patient wishes to take peony extract as a supplement, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor first.
Red Peony vs. White Peony
Both red and white peony have benefits for the body, but there are some differences between the two. Red peony is most distinguished by keeping the bark on the root, while white peony does not, resembling a small potato.
The finer differences between the two have been debated for a long time, though red peony has been shown to stop blood platelets from clumping in the body (x). Both are used in blood tonics for various reasons, but red peony is more suited to tonics and white peony more stimulating (x, y).
Generally, both types of peony are used by women to help relax the uterus. A 1996 study found that peony extract helped normalize the menstrual cycle in women and even reduce discharge in women with leukemia (x).
Benefits of Peony Extract
For centuries, peony extract has been used to help with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatism.
A 2011 study from the Department of Rheumatology at Shanghai Guanghua Hospital in China looked at whether a water-ethanol extract from peony flowers had anti-inflammatory effects. The extract, called total glucosides of peony (TGP), has already been shown to have possible antioxidative properties and was now tested in animal models with acute and subacute inflammation. In random controlled trials, these anti-inflammatory properties were shown to help treat rheumatoid arthritis (x).
Peony extract has been used to treat pain and has been successful in animal trials that involved various stages of pain.
A 2001 study from Traditional Chinese Drug Research And Clinical Pharmacology administered a dose of TGP that reportedly inhibited pedal swelling and arthritis in rats. A slightly larger dose reportedly inhibited auricular inflammatory reaction in mice, as well as reducing the frequency of body torsion (x).
Oxidative stress has been proven to be a catalyst for many diseases, including cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and heart problems. Peony root extract has thus been the subject of a few studies testing its antioxidative abilities.
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry studied the antioxidative effects of peony root extract by separating seven chemical components of the peony root. These components were tested against induced neurotoxicity in rats, and of the seven components, two had a significant impact against oxidative stress (x).
Paeoniflorin, another chemical component of peony extract, has been shown to possibly have antidepressant effects in animal models. A 2010 study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal once again tested peony extract for antioxidative effects, this time on (NMDA)‐induced neurotoxicity in rats. Paeoniflorin demonstrated an ability to decrease intracellular calcium concentration and elevated cell viability, suggesting that it might have neuroprotective properties (x).
White peony extract skin effects have been long-reputed, including helping with skin pigment diseases. A 2016 study from L’Oréal Research and Innovation applied peony root extract to a reconstructed pigmented human epidermis model. The results showed a decrease in melanin (the chemical that produces skin color) in the models used. They also demonstrate the potential of peony root extract for use in cosmetic or dermatological applications to help reduce hyperpigmented skin disorders (x).
A 2010 study from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry looked at different cosmetic skin creams to see which ingredients were most active. White peony extract was found among those ingredients. While the study found some evidence to suggest white peony may reduce the appearance of skin aging, those effects might not last for long. More evidence is needed to confirm these findings (x).
White peony extract side effects are pretty few and far between. If taken in excess, peony extract might cause an upset stomach–nothing serious (x).
Warnings and Precautions
Peony extract might cause a skin rash for patients with sensitive skin. Make sure to test peony extract on a small patch of skin and observe for twenty-four hours. If there is no serious reaction or any reaction at all, it is likely safe to continue using.
Not enough is known about using peony extract while breastfeeding to judge its overall safety. Some research suggests that peony root extract, when taken in conjunction with angelica flower, might be safe. But breastfeeding patients should be cautious and not consume peony extract.
Peony extract might also slow blood clotting, so patients who have bleeding disorders should exercise caution. If a patient is already taking medicine that slows blood clotting, peony extract should be consumed minimally.
Patients who are due for surgery should stop consuming peony extract at least two weeks before surgery (x).
How to Take Peony Extract
Peony extract is safe to take by mouth for a brief time. Some patients have taken it for up to four weeks with no serious side effects. It can taste a little bitter or sour, which some sources have attributed to the astringent properties found in the root (x). Peony extract is available as a tincture or a powder (x).
A specific dosage has not been determined yet. How much a patient uses depends on their age and current health conditions. Patients should take heed of all package directions and warnings (x). Some sources recommend 5-10 grams of peony root daily, boiled in water (x).
Some sources say you can boil peony roots for 10-15 minutes to release the extract (x).
Where to Buy Peony Extract
You can purchase peony extract supplements at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in testing peony extract’s antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and skin-enhancing properties? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Besides being a lovely garden flower, the peony’s root has many benefits consumers can enjoy, such as excellent antioxidative properties and some protection against skin aging. Red and white peony both have their benefits, mainly with red peony cooling the blood and white peony stimulating it. Peony root extract might even help with certain abdominal pain related to blood conditions, such as during menstruation. While not all benefits have been studied extensively yet, peony extract has great potential on many fronts.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.