Peonies have become a buzz ingredient in commercial skin formulas, especially those for mature skin. They a chemical called paeoniflorin, which reduces wrinkles. You can try making your own Peony Petal Oil to use neat on your skin or add it to your homemade moisturisers.
Alternatively, make a Peony Skin Exfoliant Scrub, wet your skin with water and massage the scrub very gently into your face or body to remove dead cells and leave your skin cleansed and glowing.
Drop a few fresh or dried peony petals into your bath for a relaxing soak that will soothe your skin.
The dried and powdered root is used medicinally. All peony species contain high amounts of anti-inflammatory glucosides, but paeoniflorin is the most abundant one, and it is largely responsible for peony’s medicinal actions, though other compounds likely play a role as well.
A decoction of the dried and powdered roots may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, muscle spasms and menstrual cramps, mild depression and anxiety.
Peony has mildly sedative effects. Try of cup of peony petal tea.
CAUTION: Peony is generally considered safe, though an overdose can lead to a stomach upset. It should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women; peony is an emmenagogue (i.e., it is capable of stimulating menstruation). Do not take if you are on blood thinning medication, or for two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Peony Skin Exfoliant Scrub
Put some sugar or salt in a blender with a few peony petals and give them a short blend. You can add a few drops of your favourite skin oil to this if you like.
Peony Cough Syrup
2 fresh peony flowers
600 ml/ 1 pint boiling water
450 gm/ 1 lb sugar
½ tsp cloves
Pour the boiling water over the peony flowers and leave for 48 hours, covered. Strain. Add the sugar and cloves and boil for 40 minutes. Bottle and keep in the fridge.
Peony Bath Bombs
300 gm bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
150 gm citric acid
4 tbsp dried petals
Few drops essential oil
Spray bottle of water.
Combine the ingredients in a dry bowl. Very carefully, a tiny bit at a time, spray water into the mix. You need to add just enough to make the mixture stick together, and this will be less than you think. Fashion into balls or press into moulds.
Macerated Peony Oil
Pack a clean glass jar with peony flowers. Cover them in vegetable oil and fit a lid. Leave on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain into a clean jar.
© Anna Franklin from the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023