Peony Health Benefits, Uses, and Recipes


Flowers are one of the most common plants you can find in a garden. There are countless variants, and all are known for their beautiful aesthetics and scents. One flower that needs more recognition is the peony.

The history of the peony dates back to ancient China more than 1,000 years ago. It rose to popularity during the Tang Dynasty, becoming a fixture in Chinese culture by appearing in their art, literature and fashion. It was even called the “king of flowers” and was the national flower of China before being replaced by the plum in 1929.1,2

What is it about the peony that makes it stand the test of time? Aside from this flower’s ornamental uses, history has shown that it may have therapeutic benefits that may help with various ailments.

5 Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Peony

Peony contains a mixture of compounds, such as paeoniflorin, albiflorin, oxypaeoniflorin, paeonilactinone, benzoyloxypaeoniflorin and lactinolide.3 All of these work together to provide various potential benefits. Research has shown that peony may help:

Other Great Uses of Peony Aside From Promoting Health

Aside from therapeutic applications, peonies are ubiquitous in landscaping or gardening. They’re well-known for their beautiful appearance, which can immensely increase the aesthetic value of your home. Here are just some of the ways you can apply peonies:9

Furthermore, peony variants can be mixed and matched to create different unique styles to suit your home. For example, a particular combination can evoke a modern, classical or formal feel, depending on what flowers and other gardening elements you use.10 Here are the variants of peonies and their general descriptions:11

Growing Peonies in Your Own Home

Peonies can be a huge boon to your garden because they’re an attractive perennial that will last you a very long time. In fact, The Old Farmer’s Almanac mentions that certain peonies have lasted more than 100 years.12 Furthermore, growing them requires very little maintenance due to their sturdiness. All you need to do is make sure that they’re planted and established properly.13 Here are a few tips to help you out.

How to Harvest and Store Peony Properly

The best time for cutting peonies is when the buds are just about to open. Cut the stems at an angle so that the soon-to-be flowers can absorb water effectively. This will give you time to savor the bloom, which is what peonies are known for.19

You may also cut full-bloom peonies during the spring. They only last for two weeks, so you need to do it quickly. But if you plant different varieties of peony, you can extend the harvest period to six weeks.20

Store peonies that haven’t bloomed yet, so you can take advantage of their beauty when hosting an event at your home. Place freshly cut peony buds in your refrigerator by wrapping them in paper towels, giving them a shelf life of two to three weeks. Once you’re ready to take them out, place them in a vase with warm water while cutting the stems again. They will fully bloom in 24 hours, lasting up to a full week out in the open.21

Try a Peony Decoction for Household Use

Traditional Chinese medicine makes use of decoctions from white peony. The root of the peony is dried and then cleaned. Afterward, it is boiled in water, dried again and then sliced. It has been used to manage conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, dysmenorrhea and muscle cramps.22

There is some published research supporting the effectiveness of peony derivatives. In a 2016 study, a decoction made of peony and glycyrrhiza (licorice) in reducing antipsychotic-related hyperprolactinemia in schizophrenic women.23 In another study, a rhubarb-peony decoction was found to be effective in managing ulcerative colitis by restoring gut microbiota.24

It’s Time to Add Peony to Your Garden

Peony is a plant that hits two birds with one stone — it may help with various ailments while spicing up your garden. It’s a flower that you will enjoy having in your home, no matter what type you choose to grow.

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