Peony plant is a perennial, resilient plant. Native to China, peony plant also grows in Japan, Taiwan, South of Europe and Western North America. Peony is also known as red peony and white peony, due to color of processed root. This plant belongs to the family Paeoniaceae.
Peony root has been used in Chinese and Japanese medicines for centuries due to its high nutritional value. Peony root is known to offer a number of health benefits due to its antibacterial, antifungal, antiallergenic, analgesic, anticoagulant and sedative properties. Peony root contains flavonoids, tannis, proanthocyanidins, asparagi, sitosterol, glycosides and monoterpene. The roots are boiled and dried in autumn to use for medicinal purposes.
Health Benefits of Peony Root
An herbal tea is prepared from peony root, which can be used to treat various ailments.
– The major known health benefit of peony root is its antispasmodic effect, which is helpful for muscle relaxation. It relaxes cramps in calf, limb muscles and abdomen. It can also be used effectively to relieve cramps caused due to epilepsy attacks, bouts of asthma and menstrual periods.
– Peony root can be used as a sedative, which is helpful in calming nerves and other nervous conditions. It acts as a diuretic to eliminate bladder and kidney problems. It can be used as an analgesic to reduce headaches and menstrual pain.
– Due to its anticoagulant properties, peony root can be used as blood purifier for liver and stomach. It can be significantly used in the treatment of jaundice.
– Due to antibacterial and antifungal properties, peony root is found to be effective to cure gastrointestinal infections. It is also effective in relieving skin problems, making the skin look younger and healthier.
– Ethanol extract present in peony root and other ingredients like gallic acid and methyl gallate give protective effect against the formation of free radicals.
– Due to presence of paeoniflorin isolated from methanol extract, peony root helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and controls blood pressure.
– The two compounds, paeoniflorin and 8-debenzoylpaeoniflorin in dried peony root, cause a significant reduction in blood sugar levels. Therefore, peony root can be effectively used to manage diabetes.
– Peony root consists of 18 active constituents such as catechin, galloylpaeoniflorin, paeoniflorin and paeonol that are capable of inhibiting blood coagulation or platelet aggregation. This supports healthy blood circulation, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
– Peony root also helps to improve kidney health and relieves the symptoms of kidney tubule injury.
– According to the research studies, peony root causes blood vessel dilation. Paeonol is an active compound in peony root that increases the production of nitric acid and regulates the calcium flow. Nitric acid is responsible for relaxation of blood vessels, while calcium induces muscle contraction. Dilation of blood vessels causes controlled blood pressure, preventing the symptoms related to high blood pressure.
– The antioxidant effect of paeoniflorin present in peony root prevents liver inflammation. It controls oxidative stress caused by antigen, lipopolysaccharide. Therefore, peony root can be used to treat certain liver conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Peony root can be safely used for short-term. With excessive usage, it can cause stomach unset and skin rashes in sensitive people. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid using peony root, as it can cause uterine contractions. Since peony reduces blood clotting, it might cause increased risk of bleeding in those with bleeding disorders. Also, it can increase the possibility of bleeding during and after surgery.
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