Health Benefits and Side Effects of White Peony Root

White peony root is one of the most essential roots that has several potential health benefits. However, it has also few side effects, which must be known. So, let us read further and know about some of the potential health benefits of white peony root.

White Peony Root: An Introduction

White Peony is technically named Peonia lactiflora, and in Chinese, it is named Bai Shao. This plant is native to East Asia. However, it grows in various parts of the world, including Mongolia, China, and Siberia. White Peony is also grown as a garden plant commonly in the Northern U.S. Chinese Peony, Garden Peony, and Bai Shao, are some other names of White peony.

White peony root is very much essential and used in Chinese medicine because of its medicinal properties. The dried roots of White peony have been used in ancient Chinese medicine for more than 1000 years. Traditionally, white peony root is used for treating a wide range of health ailments, like inflammation, pain, and many more. Some of these health benefits have also been proven scientifically. Read on to know about the potential health benefits and also side effects of white peony roots.

Potential Health Benefits Of White Peony Root:

The medicinal properties of white peony roots are still being learned and explored by scientists. But some of the potential health benefits of white peony roots are as follows.

Health Benefits Of White Peony Roots For Estrogen:

As per research conducted in the year 2019, it has been found that white peony root contains compounds known as Phytoestrogen.(1) These Phytoestrogens are structurally similar to estrogen or the primary female sex hormones, and these compounds act like estrogen in our body.

Apart from this, a review of the year 2012 also suggests that older studies have examined the effect of a primary compound present in white peony, known as Paeoniflorin.(2) This compound is known to increase the activity of the enzyme Aromatase ( which is an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen). Aromatase also reduces testosterone synthesis.

Benefits Of White Peony Roots For Treating Inflammation:

White Peony roots are also beneficial in treating inflammation. White peony root has glycosides in it. These are compounds with an attached carbohydrate. Some other compounds are Paeoniflorin. When glycosides are removed or extracted from the White peony roots, it is called the TGP or total glycosides of peony.

TGP or Total glycosides of peony has excellent benefits for inflammatory disorders. As per a 2019 research review, it is found that Paeoniflorin present in TGP can suppress inflammatory pathways.(3) It has been suggested by the researchers that it might be essential in treating chronic inflammatory conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease and arthritis.

Benefits Of White Peony Roots For Treating Pain:

White peony roots are also beneficial for treating pain. As per an animal study of 2018, it has been found that Paeoniflorin present in white peony, has an analgesic or pain-relieving effect.(4) According to the researchers it has been mentioned that this is because of the anti-inflammatory properties of Paeoniflorin in the CNS or the Central Nervous System.

White Peony Root Is A Blood Tonic:

White peony root is known as a blood tonic. Blood Tonic is a traditional term used for a concoction that is used for arthritis, rheumatism, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fatigue, allergic reactions, inflammation, chronic fever, and unspecific nerve pain. The white peony root aids in reducing inflammation and also shows antispasmodic properties. It has also been shown to be soothing pain in nerves. This root has also been used as a topical treatment for hemorrhoids.

White Peony Root For Autoimmune Disorders:

Glycosides are present in White peony roots. These glycosides are compounds with an attached carbohydrate. One more compound present in these roots is the Paeoniflorin.

When glycosides are removed or extracted from the white peony roots, it is called TGP or Total Glycosides of Peony.

As per a review of the year 2020, it is mentioned that TGP or total glycosides of peony can regulate your immune system.(5) It has been found to treat autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, oral lichen planus, and Sjogren’s syndrome quite effectively.

Improved Brain Function Benefits of White Peony Root:

One more health benefit of white peony root is that it helps in improving your brain function. Paeonia is used commonly as the mind’s rejuvenator and a supporter of meditation for increasing the clarity of your thoughts. It is even used frequently to support the treatment of cognitive deficits and also to improve memory and learning.

Modern research has explored this traditional use of white peony root and the results have been exciting. Research has looked at the root’s unique cognitive-enhancing properties and neuroprotective qualities.

Heart Health Benefits of White Peony Root:

White peony roots are also essential for heart health. Antioxidants found in peony tea have benefits for your heart health. One of the important works of white peony tea is to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL and lower blood pressure in our body to make our circulatory system pretty strong and also prevent our body from any heart risks of cholesterol.

In addition to this, the antioxidant benefits of white peony also protect your heart from blood clots that might lead to serious heart issues and severe stroke. So, it is good for you to drink one cup of white peony tea every day.

White Peony Root For Blood Flow:

White peony root is being used in ancient Chinese medicine for preventing thrombosis. This effect was examined in a 2016 animal study.(6) The researchers found that Paeonuflorin present in white peony roots increased the activity of plasminogen activator Urokinase, or an enzyme known to support the natural resolution of thrombosis.
White peony root thins the blood and thus clots do not form. It also aids your body in better resolve any blood clots that might be existing.

It has also been noted in a 2019 review that the active compounds present in white peony, along with Paeoniflorin, can increase the flow of blood by inhibiting blood clotting or blood coagulation.(7)

Skin Helth Benefits of White Peony Root:

According to a lab study of the year 2016, it has been found that White peony root extracts can reduce hyperpigmentation.(8) This is when the skin starts appearing darker in specific places and can range from mild small spots to your entire body.

When white peony root extract is applied to a human skin sample, it reduced the melanin pigment. Melanin pigment is the pigment that gives color to the skin. So, white peony root extract might be essential in controlling the over-production of melanin.

White Peony Root For Depression and Anxiety:

White peony root is traditionally used for treating depression and anxiety.

A study from the year 2020 on rats has found that white peony root extract was found to reduce expression of SERT or Serotonin transporter.(9)

Typically, SERT protein captures Serotonin or a chemical that is known to contribute to happiness and well-being, and so it can be broken down and recycled. Inhibiting Serotonin transporter prevents this process, and this increases the chemical Serotonin and ultimately produces an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect.

According to a study of 2019, it has been found that Paeoniflorin also increases the good bacteria in the gut or probiotics, which might help in improving your balance of gut bacteria.(10) As per a research review of 2017, it has been found that this also helps in managing depression and anxiety.(11)

It Might Improve Your Bone Health:

Antioxidants present in white peony tea are essential in reducing inflammatory problems that can result in bone diseases like osteoarthritis and arthritis. Drink peony tea regularly can strengthen your bones.

Some Other Possible Health Benefits of White Peony Root:

Some other possible health benefits of white peony roots could be its benefits in treating hair loss, fever, sweating, Polycystic ovary syndrome, menstrual cramps, digestive disorders, wrinkles, breathing issues, and migraines. However, it has not been proven till now and stronger scientific evidence is required to confirm these possible health benefits of white peony roots.

Side Effects Of White Peony Root:

Like any other medicinal plant, white peony root must also be used with caution. Some of the possible side effects of white peony roots include diarrhea, digestive upset, and excessive bleeding.

It is recommended not to take white peony root if you are planning to get surgery if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Where To Get White Peony Root?

Although white peony root is in use for thousands of years, usually it is not available in standard grocery stores. Various products with white peony roots are generally sold in apothecaries, herbal medicine shops, traditional Chinese pharmacies, health markets, and special tea shops.

How To Use White Peony Roots?

White peony root can be used in several ways. It can be used as a supplement or as a tea.

As a supplement, white peony root extract is available as a powder, tincture, and capsule. Capsules and tinctures are directly taken by mouth. You can also mix the powder or tincture into a liquid such as water or tea. However, make sure that if you are taking white peony root supplements, always talk with your doctor first before using them.

White peony root tea can also be taken to gain the benefits of this root. Usually, it is available as loose tea. For making this tea, you should follow the instructions from the tea manufacturer.


White peony root or Bai Shao is used as a traditional Chinese remedy. There is research that shows the wonderful health benefits of this herb. However, you should always consult with your doctor before using white peony root. If you are willing to use supplements of white peony root, always talk to your doctor first and purchase the supplements from a reputable retailer to ensure safety and quality.