The leaves and flowers of the peony are poisonous but the root has long been prized in Oriental medicine for its ability as a pain reliever, for asthma, for gout, for dissolving blood clots, and for many more conditions. The root is sometimes referred to as white peony but this is not a description of the flower, but of the color of the root. This is a lovely, long living perennial plant in your garden that grows bigger each year–so, you divide the plant by digging and replanting chunks of root. Or saving some to put in your first aid kit. If you’re saving the root by drying it, scrub it clean and slice it in tea sized pieces. To use it, steep it in wine or vodka long enough to extract the goodies. The wine infusion will keep about 3 weeks; the vodka infusion preserves it permanently.
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