Peony Root is native to China, chiefly produced in the Zhejiang, Anhui, and Sichuan provinces. The root is harvested in late summer or early fall and then washed clean. After removal of the lateral roots and skin, it is sometimes boiled for a short period and then dried. Peony is named after Paeon, the Greek physician to the gods. Peony Root was used at one time to keep away evil spirits and to help avoid nightmares.
Since the days of Hippocrates (470-377 B.C.), Peony Root has been recommended as a herb that can be used for epilepsy. The seeds of this plant were even worn as necklaces to ward off the problem. Only Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony) can be used as an antiseptic and hepato-tonic, and used to help support female infertility. Peony helps clear blood congestion following traumatic injury. Peony Root can be used to help support many female complaints. In particular, it is considered to be highly effective in supporting menstrual cramps. It supports muscle tension, yet at the same time stimulates uterine muscles. Peony also calms the liver and nourishes the blood, helping to improve blood flow to the uterus. Women who use Peony for an extended period of time find that their skin becomes finer, smoother, softer and cleaner. An old saying in China is that women who consume Peony Root will become as beautiful as the Peony flower. Men also use Peony Root as well, since it has an anti-aging effect without effecting hormones.
The primary chemical constituents of Peony Root include monoterpene glycosides (paeoniflorin, albiflorin), asparagin, benzoic acid, triterpenoids, and sitosterol. When combined with Licorice Root, Peony's anti-spasmodic, analgesic qualities are magnified. The common name Peony includes the species Paeonia lactiflora, Paeonia albiflora, and Paeonia officinalis which are often used interchangeably with Paeonia suffruticosa.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and natural sweetener to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
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