Paeonia lactiflora known in China as Bai Shao Yao is also known in the West as White Peony Root
Bao Shao Yao is a natural product which is untreated by heat and is harvested from a shrubby, herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to central and eastern Asia, which reaches a height of around 70cm. The leaves are biternate, compound with approximately 3 trilobed leaflets per leaf, 20–40cm in length,elliptical-ovate in shape and dark green in colour on the upper surface with reddish veins, paler green and hairy on the underside. The flowers are solitary and present on the tops of the stems large and round, opening into fragrant, cup- or bowl-shaped flowers 8–16cm in diameter, with 5-10 white, petals and yellow stamens. The roots are fleshy, thick and tuberous, 5-18cm in length, 1-2cm in diameter and light brown on the outer surface, pinkish-white on the inside.
Traditional Uses for Bai Shao Yao Root:-
The roots of Bao Shao Yao or the White Peony are often added to soups to provide a tonic although medicinally they are more usually administered as a tea. It is anti inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial so an infusion of the root may be used as a skin wash and to clean cuts, abrasions and minor wounds and to help soothe minor skin irritations.
The roots of Bai Shao Yao or the White Peony have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to preserve yin and treat disharmony of the spleen. The ancient Chinese people believed that regular using Bai Shao Yao would extend life and to promote inner and outer beauty, so much so that an old Chinese proverb says that a woman who partakes of the root of the peony every day ’ becomes as beautiful as the Peony flower itself’.