A perennial herbaceous plant with a brown-brown thick branched root. Stems are straight, unbranched, with leathery scales at the base. Leaves alternate, twice or thrice divided into narrow lanceolate lobes. Flowers are large, red or pale pink, calyx of five sepals, Corolla petals five or more, many stamens, pistils two to five with the upper ovary. Fruit-a combined leaflet (consists of several rejected leaflets). Seeds are large, black, elliptical. Height 60 – 100 cm.
Distribution. It is found in the forest zone of the North-Eastern of the Europe, in the forest zone of Siberia.
The part used. Roots.
The roots contain essential oil (up to 1.1%), salicin glucoside, sugars (up to 10%), starch (up to 78.5%), tannin and a small number of alkaloids. The composition of the essential oil includes peonol, methyl salicylate, benzoic and salicylic acids. The plant is highly poisonous.
Water infusion of roots increases the appetite and acidity of gastric juice, improves digestion and has a calming (sedative) and analgesic effect. Root infusion is used for various stomach diseases, jaundice, women's diseases, epilepsy and other nervous diseases. The internal use of peony, as a highly poisonous plant, requires a great caution.
1 teaspoon of dry roots to insist 1/2 hour in 3 cups of boiling water, strain. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day for 10-15 minutes before meals.
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