Herb: Yama-Shakuyaku

Latin name: Paeonia japonica

Family: Paeoniaceae (Peony Family)

Medicinal use of Yama-Shakuyaku:

The root is analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, febrifuge and sedative. A tea made from the dried crushed petals of various peony species has been used as a cough remedy, and as a treatment for haemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Description of the plant:


45 cm
(1 foot)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and open deciduous woods in mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Edible parts of Yama-Shakuyaku:

Flowers. No further details are given. Young leaves - cooked. Root - chewed.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. When sown fresh, the seed produces a root about 6 weeks after sowing with shoots formed in the spring. Stored seed is much slower, it should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame but may take 18 months or more to germinate. The roots are very sensitive to disturbance, so many growers allow the seedlings to remain in their pots for 2 growing seasons before potting them up. This allows a better root system to develop that is more resilient to disturbance. If following this practice, make sure you sow the seed thinly, and give regular liquid feeds in the growing season to ensure the plants are well fed. We usually prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and then grow them on in a cold frame for at least two growing seasons before planting them out when they are in growth in the spring. Division with great care in spring or autumn. Each portion must have a leaf bud. If the lifted root is stood in shade for several hours it becomes less brittle and easier to divide. Divisions that have several buds will usually flower in the second year, but those that only have one or two buds will take a number of years before they have grown sufficiently to flower.

Cultivation of Yama-Shakuyaku:

Thickets and open deciduous woods in mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Paeonia japonica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.