Use 1-2 grams as needed
The root of white peony, or bai shao, is a traditional Chinese remedy.
According to scientific research, the herb may improve blood flow, pain, hyperpigmentation, and mood disorders. It might also help autoimmune conditions and increase estrogen levels.
Scientists are still learning about medicinal properties of the white peony root. Some of the available research is outdated or involves animals instead of humans.
Here’s what science has determined so far:
White peony for estrogen
According to a 2019 research reviewTrusted Source, white peony root contains phytoestrogens. These compounds are structurally similar to estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, and they act like estrogen in the body.
Also, according to a 2012 reviewTrusted Source, older studies have examined the effect of paeoniflorin, a main compound in white peony. Paeoniflorin has been found to increase the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen. The compound also reduces testosterone synthesis.
White peony root for anxiety and depression
Traditionally, white peony root is used to treat anxiety and depression.
In a 2020 studyTrusted Source on rats, white peony root extract was found to reduce expression of serotonin transporter (SERT).
Typically, this protein “captures” serotonin — a chemical that contributes to happiness and well-being — so it can be broken down and recycled. Inhibiting SERT prevents this process, which increases serotonin and in turn produces an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effect.
A 2019 studyTrusted Source found that paeoniflorin also increases probiotics in the gut, which may improve your balance of gut bacteria. This also benefits anxiety and depression, according to a 2017 research reviewTrusted Source.
White peony root for autoimmune disorders
White peony root contains glycosides. These are compounds with a carbohydrate attached. This includes paeoniflorin, among other compounds.
When these glycosides are extracted (removed) from the root, it’s known as total glycosides of peony (TGP).
According to a 2020 reviewTrusted Source, TGP can regulate your immune system. It’s been found to effectively treat autoimmune conditions like:
White peony for inflammation
Similarly, TGP has benefits for inflammatory disorders. According to a 2019 research review, paeoniflorin in TGP can suppress inflammatory pathways. The researchers suggest that it may be beneficial for chronic inflammatory conditions, including:
White peony root for pain
A 2018 animal study found that paeoniflorin has an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect. According to the researchers, this is due to paeoniflorin’s anti-inflammatory properties in the central nervous system.
White peony for blood flow
In ancient Chinese medicine, white peony root is used to prevent thrombosis. A 2016 animal studyTrusted Source examined this effect. The researchers found that paeoniflorin increased activity of plasminogen activator urokinase, an enzyme that supports the natural resolution of thrombosis.
White peony thins your blood so clots don’t form. It also helps your body better resolve any existing blood clots.
A 2019 review also notes that the active compounds in white peony, including paeoniflorin, can increase blood flow by inhibiting blood coagulation (clotting).
White peony root for skin
A 2016 lab studyTrusted Source states that white peony root extract can decrease hyperpigmentation. This is when skin appears darker in certain places, and can range from small spots to your entire body.
When applied to a human skin sample, the extract reduced melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color.
So, white peony root extract may be useful for controlling overproduction of melanin.
Talk with a doctor before using white peony root. If you decide to use supplements, speak with a doctor first, and always buy from a reputable retailer to ensure quality and safety.