White Peony is an herb that is a great ally to other fertility herbs. It works best when combined with other herbs for fertility. Sometimes Western herbalists cannot resist using a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb because it works so wonderfully. White Peony, also known as Chinese Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) is one of those. Peony also blends well with western herbs. Traditionally this herb has been used for painful menstruation, known as dysmennorhea, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and PCOS.
A constituent in Peony called paeoniflorin has exhibited smooth muscle relaxant ability, analgesic qualities, as well as anti-spasmodic activity.
Peony is a beautiful plant, it is prized in many gardens. There are many different species of peony. Paoenia lactiflora itself has many different varieties of colored flowers. The flowers of the peony have a heavenly scent. Peony is one of the worlds most loved flowers. For medicinal purposes the root of this plant is used. It is dried to be boiled down to make a strong tea known as a decoction. The root can also be used to make an alcohol extraction known as a tincture or liquid extract.
Combined with Licorice Rt. for Dysmenorrhea Treatment
Most clinical trials have found that when Peony is combined with Licorice Rt. (Glycyrrhiza glabra), it performs better, especially for relaxing muscles, reducing painful menstruation, as well as lowering serum and free testosterone levels in women with PCOS. An open study of 100 women with uterine fibroids showed that peony reduced the size of fibroids, as well as reduced symptoms associated with their condition.
Several other studies showed that peony, when combined with licorice in equal parts, greatly reduced painful menstruation by preventing prostaglandin production. The conclusion of this finding shows that this blends action plays a key role in reducing primary dysmenorrhea, but also is very helpful in treating the underlying causes of secondary dysmenorrhea.
In the 1970’s, studies showed a link to why women experience painful menstrual cramps. Scientists discovered that women with menstrual cramps had high levels of prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2). Prostaglandin F2 alpha is made by the uterus to stop progesterone production when there has been no implantation at the end of the menstrual cycle. Women with Dysmennorhea have been shown to produce 7 times more prostaglandin F2 alpha than women who do not. When the prostaglandin F2 alpha is released into the blood stream in high levels it causes the uterus to spasm. This also creates a state of inflammation because PGF2 is a known inflammatory chemical in the body. Uterine cramping and inflammation is the cause of the pain. Scientists still do not know why the body produces more PGF2 in women with painful menstrual cramps. It is wonderful to know that a combination of peony and licorice may inhibit prostaglandin production, thus treating dysmennorhea.
Famous western herbalist Susun Weed finds that Dong Quai combines well with peony, astragalus and licorice for dysmenorrhea. She notes that there are less side effects, such as stomach upset when Dong Quai is combined with these other herbs.
Combined With Dong Quai for Iron Deficient Anemia Treatment
Peony has been combined with Dong Quai by TCM practitioners for treatment of iron deficient anemia. According to TCM, blood deficiency is characterized by fatigue, depression, dizziness, constipation and pale complexion. Traditionally a decoction of peony and Dong Quai is given twice a week, for a month, to increase hematocrit levels.
Key Fertility Uses of Peony
You will find that peony is an ally to many other medicinal herbs. It is almost always used in combination with other herbs for fertility.
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). Has analgesic, spasmolytic actions; relaxing smooth muscles. Combines well with Licorice Rt for this.
- Moves the blood in the pelvic area, good for uterine stagnation including conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, & PCOS.
- Combines well with Dong Quai for treating anemia and endometriosis pain.
- Great to use for a vaginal steam bath for vulvar varicosities.
Traditional Suggested Usage
–Dried herb decoction of root: 3-6g dried root decocted in 3 cups water. 1-3 times a day.
–Liquid extract: 3-5mL, 1-2 times a day.
Combines well in equal parts with Licorice Rt. and Dong Quai.
*Do NOT use into pregnancy. Do not use if using blood thinning medications, if you have a history of bleeding problems, or if you have a history of heavy menstrual bleeding.
1. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Aviva Romm, Churchill Livingstone, 2010
2. Down There Sexual and Reproductive Health, Susun S. Weed, Ash Tree Publishing, 2011
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