Bai Shao

Paeoniae Alba Radix, White Peony Root


Decoction: 5-12g, large dosages can use up till 15-30g.


LD50 (mice): 81g/kg (oral/decoction), 125mg/kg (i.p./TGP), 3.53g/kg (paeoniflorin). (1) , (2) , (3)

Chemical Composition

Paeoniflorin; Albiflorin; Oxypaeoniflorin; Paeonin; Benzoylpaeoniflorin; Hydroxypaeoniflorin; Galloylpaeoniflorin; Lactoflorin; Paeonilactone A, B, C; b-sitosterol; Daucosterol; Z-1s, 5R-b-pinen-10-yl-b-vicianoside; 1, 2, 3, 6-tetra-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose; 1, 2, 3, 4, 6-penta-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose; Catechin; Benzoic acid; Paeonol. (4) , (5) , (6) , (7)

Inorganic Chemicals

Ni, Fe, Cu, Mn, Cr


Individual use of the herb is contraindicated for cold syndromes of the deficiency type. The herb is incompatible with Li Lu (black falsehellebore root and rhizome).


Immunoregulatory effects:

Total glycosides of peony (TGP), paeoniflorin (PF), and TGP minus PF all have a concentration-dependent effect of increasing the low spleen lymphocyte proliferation in rats of adjuvant arthritis (all with a bell-shaped dose-effect relationship) and all can inhibit the peritoneal phagocytes' overproduction of IL-1 in rats of adjuvant arthritis (all with a reversed bell-shaped dose-effect relationship). In both instances, the effect of TGP is the most pronounced of the three. (8)

Counteracting arthritis

Administered to rats with adjuvant arthritis, TGP can not only inhibit foot swelling, they can also lower the elevated levels of MDA, NO2, and TNF, while raising the sagged activities of SOD, GSH-Px. (9)

Protecting the liver

Experiments show that Bai Shao has a dosage-dependent inhibitory effect on hepatic lipid peroxidation. (10)

Laxative effects

Research shows that Bai Shao can directly act on the intestines, increasing mucus secretion in the large intestines, enhancing movement, and increasing the water content in both the small and large intestines. (11)

Effects on the activity of ATPase

Experiments show that TGP of relatively high concentrations can significantly increase the activity of Ca+|-Mg+|-ATPase and Na+|-K+|-ATPase, and decrease the concentration of cytoplasmic free calcium ions. (12)

Effects on the cardiovascular system

TGP can cause vasodilation in isolated rabbit ears. (13) They can also significantly lengthen mice's survival time from oxygen deprivation under normal pressure. They can improve the cardiac function of rabbits of pituitin-induced myocardial ischemia. These effects are dosage-dependent. (14)


  1. Li Jin Cai. Traditional Chinese Medicine Bulletin. 1987;12(8):54.
  2. Wang Yong Xiang. Journal of Anhui Medical University. 1986;2(1):11.
  3. Herbal Information Center. State Drug Administration of China. Active Components of Medicinal Herbs. People's Health Press. 1986.
  4. Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Techonology Press; 1998.
  5. Hu Shi Lin. Chinese Genuine Medical Materal. Heilongjiang: Science and Technology Press; 1989:523.
  6. Zhou Jin Huang (ed). Research Advances in Pharmacology and Clinical Applications of TCM. China: Science and Technology Press; 1992.
  7. Ke Guang Xun. TCM Pharmacology, Toxicity and Clinical Application. Tianjing Science Translation Inc. 1992.
  8. Ge Zhi Dong, et al. Chinese Pharmacology Bulletin. 1995;11(4):303-305.
  9. Wang Bin, et al. China Journal of Pharmacology andToxicology. 1996;10(3):211-214.
  10. Jiang Hui Di, et al. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine Material. 1997;20(12):624-626.
  11. Tan Jun Jia, et al. China Journal of TCM Science and Technology. 1998;5(3):1550157.
  12. Wang Bin, et al. Journal of Anhui Medical University. 1998;33(3):176-177.
  13. Wang Qian Mao, et al. Chinese Pharmacology Bulletin. 1986;2(5):26.
  14. Zhu Xiao Guang, et al. Chinese Pharmacology Bulletin. 1999;15(3):252-254.