Red peony (Chishao)-Paeonia lactiflora-Paeonia veitchii-Radix Paeoniae Alba

Red peony (Chishao)

Paeonia lactiflora Pall (Fam. Ranunculaceae)
Paeonia lactiflora Pall (Fam. Ranunculaceae)

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Paeoniae Alba
Botanical Name: 1. Paeonia lactiflora Pall.; 2. Paeonia veitchii Lynch (Fam. Ranunculaceae)
Common Name: Red peony root
Source of Earliest Record: Shennong Bencao Jing.
Part Used & Method for Pharmaceutical Preparations: The roots are dug in autumn. After the fibrous roots and rough bark have been removed, the roots are dried in the sun, soaked in water and cut into slices.
Properties & Taste: Bitter and slightly cold.
Meridians: Liver.
Functions: 1. To clear heat and cool blood; 2. To remove stagnant blood and reduce swelling.
Indications & Combinations:
1. For irregular menstruation, it is used with Radix Angelicae Sinensis (Dang Gui), Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong (Chuan Xiong), and Radix Rehmanniae Preparata (Shu Di Huang) in “The Decoction of Four Ingredients” (Si Wu Tang). For dysmenorrhea, Rhizoma Cyperi (Xiang Fu) and Radix Curcumae Yanhusuo (Yan Hu Suo) are added. For spontaneous sweating due to Wind Cold, it is used with Ramulus Cinnamomi (Gui Zhi), Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis (Gan Cao), Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens (Sheng Jiang), and Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae (Da Zao) in “The Ramulus Cinnamomi Decoction” (Gui Zhi Tang). For night sweats, it is used with Concha Ostreae (Mu Li) and Semen Platycladi (Bai Zi Ren).
2. For hypochondria pain due to Blood Deficiency and Stagnation of Liver Qi, it is used with Radix Angelicae Sinensis (Dang Gui) and Radix Saposhnikoviae Radix Bupleuri (Chai Hu). For abdominal spasm and pain due to Liver and Spleen Disharmony, and spasm and pain in the extremities due to Blood Deficiency, it is used with Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis (Gan Cao) in “The Decoction of Radix Paeoniae Alba and Radix Glycyrrhizae” (Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang). For abdominal pain and diarrhea, it is used with Radix Saposhnikoviae (Fang Feng) and Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Bai Zhu) in “The Important Prescription for Diarrhea with Pain” (Tong Xie Yao Fang). For dysenteric abdominal pain, it is used with Semen Arecae (Bing Lang), Rhizoma Coptidis (Huang Lian), and Radix Aucklandiae (Mu Xiang) in “The Decoction of Radix Paeoniae Alba” (Shao Yao Tang).
3. For Excess Liver Yang with headache and dizziness, it is used with Radix Rehmanniae (Sheng Di Huang) and Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae (Niu Xi).
Dosage: 510 g, or 1030 g, for a large dosage, decocted in water, and taken internally.
Cautions & Contraindications: This herb should not be used alone in patients with Yang exhaustion with Cold manifestations of the Deficiency type. It is incompatible with Radix et Rhizoma Veratri (Li Lu).

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