Paeonia lactiflora / BAI SHAO YAO / White Peony Root

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Botanical Name – Paeonia lactiflora

Chinese Name – BAI SHAO YAO

English Name – White Peony Root

Paeonia lactiflora or Radix Paeoniae Alba is a perennial herbal plant in the Ranunculaceae family. White peony root is cultivated widely throughout China. The major production provinces are Zhejiang, Anhui and Sichuan

Difference between BAI SHAO and CHI SHAO

Bai Shao (White Peony Root) comes from one plant, Paeonia lactiflora, whereas official Chi Shao can come from two plants, P. lactiflora and P. veitchii.  The later only produces Chi Shao and is only found in the wild.  The former can produce either bai shao or chi shao and can be either cultivated or wild-crafted.  If it is cultivated and subjected to pao zhi (boiling and scraping off the root bark), it is bai shao.  If it is wild-crafted and used crude, it is chi shao.

In China, Bai Shao and Chi Shao are regarded as two separate medicinals.  Both use paeoniflorin content for quality control testing, but the standard minimum content of chi shao is higher than that of bai shao.

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