Paeonia officinalis

Perennial growing up to 60cm (2ft) in height. Has a tuberous root, erect stems, oval to lance-shaped leaflets and attractive large red, red/purple or white flowers. The root has no odour and is sweet to taste.

Family: Ranunculaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Peony is a key herb in Bio-Live Women.

Habit and cultivation: Native to Southern Europe, Peony grows in mountain woodlands and is widely cultivated. The root is harvested in autumn.

Actions (known for): Anti-allergic, anti-androgenic, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic (muscles and uterus), astringent, cognition enhancer, dopaminergic, hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian regulator, immunostimulant, oestrogen modulting and sedative.


There are many myths as to the origin of this word in Greek mythology but the plant dates back to 1000 BC in Chinese gardens, arriving in Japan by the eighth century. In the East the root was mainly usued to treat headaches and asthma, and relieve pain of childbirth.

Parts used:

Roots and seeds.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

8-debenzoylpaeoniflorin, albiflorin, benzoic acid, monoterpenoid glycosides, oxypaeoniflorin, paeoniflorin, palbinone, phenols, phytosterols, polysaccharides, terpenoids and triterpenoids.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamin C. Minerals: iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium.


Androgen excess, angina pectoris, benign breast disease, cramps and muscular tension, dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, fibroids, infertility, IBS, memory, menopause, migraine, erratic ovulation, polycystic ovary syndrome (PSOS) and restless foetus.


Liquid extract (1:2): 30-60ml per week.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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