The peony, scientific name peonia officinalis, of the Peoniaceae family, is a plant that is characterized by large flowers and bright colors. The peony is also called the queen of the flowers of the Celestial Empire since, it is said, the Chinese emperor loved this plant and considered it a symbol of nobility. But the fame of the peony is also intertwined with Greek mythology. In fact, according to the legend, Peone, from which the name peony would derive, healed Pluto, wounded by Hercules, precisely with the roots of this plant. Therefore, as the myth suggests, the importance of peony does not stop only at its undoubted ornamental role but is also supported by its use in the herbalist field.
In fact, peony contains peonin, which gives the remedy antispasmodic and calming properties, useful in case of persistent and continuous cough, such as nocturnal cough, but also against colitis, digestive problems, menstrual pain and headache (Drugs and Lactation Database, National Library of Medicine). Of the peony you can easily find the dried flowers in herbalist’s shops, so avoid DIY. But it is also possible to buy the mother tincture obtained from the roots of this plant and characterized by a calming action useful in case of muscle cramps, spasms and pain caused by menstruation (He et al, Front Phamracol, Feb 2011).
Peony, herbal tea and mother tincture, uses and warnings
To prepare the herbal tea boil a cup of water, then remove it from the heat and add a teaspoon of the plant, let it brew for 10 minutes then filter and drink. As for the mother tincture, the dose is 20 drops in a little water three times a day. Since no studies are available on the safety of peony in pregnancy and breastfeeding, avoid using the remedy during these periods.