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photo: FM Gulmen, "peony"
More than just a pretty flower, peony has been
recognized as medicine since ancient times.
In Greek mythology, it is believed that peony is named
after Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of
medicine and healing. Paeon was instructed by Leto
(Apollo's mother and goddess of fertility) to obtain a
magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would
soothe the pain of women in childbirth. Asclepius
became jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus
saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning
him into the peony flower.
White peony root is still commonly used in Traditional
Chinese Medicine to regulate menses.
In different cultures the flower symbolizes beauty,
wealth, romance, honor, compassion, and bashfulness.