White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) Root Extract


White Peony | Chinese Peony | Radix Paeoniae Alba | Bai Shao


Supports mood*
Support brain function*
Supports sleep


The peeled roots of white peony (Peonia lactiflora) are one of the most common herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where some of its uses included supporting sleep, emotional stability, mental focus, and immunity. It is one of the four herbs in a TCM herbal formula called Si Ni San, which is used to support sleep quality and help with mental fatigue. White peony root contains a compound called paeoniflorin [1] that in preclinical research influences adenosine signaling—a molecule involved in the sleep homeostatic drive. Preclinical research has also reported that paeoniflorin supports brain protection and repair processes and molecules (such as BDNF and NGF), counters chronic stress, influences learning, and promotes a balanced mood.*


White peony root extract is standardized to contain not less than 10% paeoniflorin, since this compound is the most researched of white peony root’s unique compounds and is used as the marker compound for standardization. 

White peony root extract is Non-GMO and Vegan.


One of our dosing principles is to determine whether there is a dosing range, in which many of the benefits occur and above which there appears to be diminishing returns (i.e., a threshold), and to provide a dose within this threshold range (see Neurohacker Dosing Principles). We consider the amount of paeoniflorin in a white peony root extract to be the critical factor when determining the dose of an extract to use. Only low-to-moderate amounts of white peony are typically needed when paeoniflorin content is more concentrated.



Supports healthy behavioral and physiological responses to stress [2–10]

Supports stress hormone levels [5,10,11]

Brain function

Supports learning and memory [8]

Supports sleep [12–14]

Supports adenosine signaling [12,13,15,16]

Supports acetylcholine signaling [17]

Supports serotonin levels [3,5,10]

Supports brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) [4,8,9,18]

Supports brain mitochondrial structure and function [19]

Supports hippocampal synaptic density [8,19]

Supports brain insulin signaling [19,20]

Modulates glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) activity [20,21]

Supports cerebral blood flow [22]

Supports neuroprotective functions [15–17,19–25]

Supports brain mitochondrial function [19]

Supports brain autophagy [26]

Gut microbiota

Supports the composition of the gut microbiota [2]


[1] X. Zhang, Y. Zhai, J. Yuan, Y. Hu, New insights into Paeoniaceae used as medicinal plants in China, Sci. Rep. 9 (2019) 18469.

[2] J.-B. Yu, Z.-X. Zhao, R. Peng, L.-B. Pan, J. Fu, S.-R. Ma, P. Han, L. Cong, Z.-W. Zhang, L.-X. Sun, J.-D. Jiang, Y. Wang, Gut Microbiota-Based Pharmacokinetics and the Antidepressant Mechanism of Paeoniflorin, Front. Pharmacol. 10 (2019) 268.

[3] F. Qiu, X. Zhong, Q. Mao, Z. Huang, The antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin in mouse models, Exp. Ther. Med. 5 (2013) 1113–1116.

[4] M.-Z. Hu, A.-R. Wang, Z.-Y. Zhao, X.-Y. Chen, Y.-B. Li, B. Liu, Antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin on post-stroke depression in a rat model, Neurol. Res. 41 (2019) 446–455.

[5] F.-M. Qiu, X.-M. Zhong, Q.-Q. Mao, Z. Huang, Antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin on the behavioural, biochemical, and neurochemical patterns of rats exposed to chronic unpredictable stress, Neurosci. Lett. 541 (2013) 209–213.

[6] J. Li, S. Huang, W. Huang, W. Wang, G. Wen, L. Gao, X. Fu, M. Wang, W. Liang, H.Y. Kwan, X. Zhao, Z. Lv, Paeoniflorin ameliorates interferon-alpha-induced neuroinflammation and depressive-like behaviors in mice, Oncotarget. 8 (2017) 8264–8282.

[7] S. Wang, X. Zhao, Z. Qiao, X. Jia, Y. Qi, Paeoniflorin attenuates depressive behaviors in systemic lupus erythematosus mice, Biomed. Pharmacother. 103 (2018) 248–252.

[8] S.-C. Liu, W.-Y. Hu, W.-Y. Zhang, L. Yang, Y. Li, Z.-C. Xiao, M. Zhang, Z.-Y. He, Paeoniflorin attenuates impairment of spatial learning and hippocampal long-term potentiation in mice subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress, Psychopharmacology . 236 (2019) 2823–2834.

[9] L.-B. Chen, F.-M. Qiu, X.-M. Zhong, C. Hong, Z. Huang, Promoting neurogenesis in hippocampal dentate gyrus of chronic unpredictable stress-induced depressive-like rats with paeoniflorin, J. Integr. Neurosci. 18 (2019) 43–49.

[10]Z.-K. Qiu, J.-L. He, X. Liu, J. Zeng, W. Xiao, Q.-H. Fan, X.-M. Chai, W.-H. Ye, J.-S. Chen, Anxiolytic-like effects of paeoniflorin in an animal model of post traumatic stress disorder, Metab. Brain Dis. 33 (2018) 1175–1185.

[11] H. Huang, J. Zhao, L. Jiang, Y. Xie, Y. Xia, R. Lv, L. Dong, Paeoniflorin improves menopause depression in ovariectomized rats under chronic unpredictable mild stress, Int. J. Clin. Exp. Med. 8 (2015) 5103–5111.

[12] D. Yin, Y.-Y. Liu, T.-X. Wang, Z.-Z. Hu, W.-M. Qu, J.-F. Chen, N.-N. Cheng, Z.-L. Huang, Paeoniflorin exerts analgesic and hypnotic effects via adenosine A1 receptors in a mouse neuropathic pain model, Psychopharmacology . 233 (2016) 281–293.

[13] C.-R. Chen, Y. Sun, Y.-J. Luo, X. Zhao, J.-F. Chen, Y. Yanagawa, W.-M. Qu, Z.-L. Huang, Paeoniflorin Promotes Non-rapid Eye Movement Sleep via Adenosine A1 Receptors, J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 356 (2016) 64–73.

[14] Y. Li, P. Wu, Y. Ning, X. Yan, T. Zhu, C. Ma, A. Liu, Sedative and hypnotic effect of freeze-dried paeoniflorin and sini san freeze-dried powder in pentobarbital sodium-induced mice, J. Tradit. Chin. Med. 34 (2014) 184–187.

[15] D.-Z. Liu, K.-Q. Xie, X.-Q. Ji, Y. Ye, C.-L. Jiang, X.-Z. Zhu, Neuroprotective effect of paeoniflorin on cerebral ischemic rat by activating adenosine A1 receptor in a manner different from its classical agonists, Br. J. Pharmacol. 146 (2005) 604–611.

[16] H.-Q. Liu, W.-Y. Zhang, X.-T. Luo, Y. Ye, X.-Z. Zhu, Paeoniflorin attenuates neuroinflammation and dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease by activation of adenosine A1 receptor, Br. J. Pharmacol. 148 (2006) 314–325.

[17] C.-H. Ko, C.-P. Huang, Y.-W. Lin, C.-L. Hsieh, Paeoniflorin has anti-inflammation and neurogenesis functions through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury rats, Iran. J. Basic Med. Sci. 21 (2018) 1174–1178.

[18] Y. Zhang, L.-L. Wang, Y. Wu, N. Wang, S.-M. Wang, B. Zhang, C.-G. Shi, S.-C. Zhang, Paeoniflorin attenuates hippocampal damage in a rat model of vascular dementia, Exp. Ther. Med. 12 (2016) 3729–3734.

[19] D. Wang, L. Liu, S. Li, C. Wang, Effects of paeoniflorin on neurobehavior, oxidative stress, brain insulin signaling, and synaptic alterations in intracerebroventricular streptozotocin-induced cognitive impairment in mice, Physiol. Behav. 191 (2018) 12–20.

[20] X. Sun, S. Li, L. Xu, H. Wang, Z. Ma, Q. Fu, R. Qu, S. Ma, Paeoniflorin ameliorates cognitive dysfunction via regulating SOCS2/IRS-1 pathway in diabetic rats, Physiol. Behav. 174 (2017) 162–169.

[21] H.-R. Zhang, J.-H. Peng, X.-B. Cheng, B.-Z. Shi, M.-Y. Zhang, R.-X. Xu, Paeoniflorin Atttenuates Amyloidogenesis and the Inflammatory Responses in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease, Neurochem. Res. 40 (2015) 1583–1592.

[22] L.-G. Zhang, L.-J. Wang, Q.-Q. Shen, H.-F. Wang, Y. Zhang, C.-G. Shi, S.-C. Zhang, M.-Y. Zhang, Paeoniflorin improves regional cerebral blood flow and suppresses inflammatory factors in the hippocampus of rats with vascular dementia, Chin. J. Integr. Med. 23 (2017) 696–702.

[23] X.-Q. Luo, A. Li, X. Yang, X. Xiao, R. Hu, T.-W. Wang, X.-Y. Dou, D.-J. Yang, Z. Dong, Paeoniflorin exerts neuroprotective effects by modulating the M1/M2 subset polarization of microglia/macrophages in the hippocampal CA1 region of vascular dementia rats via cannabinoid receptor 2, Chin. Med. 13 (2018) 14.

[24] X. Gu, Z. Cai, M. Cai, K. Liu, D. Liu, Q. Zhang, J. Tan, Q. Ma, Protective effect of paeoniflorin on inflammation and apoptosis in the cerebral cortex of a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, Mol. Med. Rep. 13 (2016) 2247–2252.

[25] J. Liu, D.-Z. Jin, L. Xiao, X.-Z. Zhu, Paeoniflorin attenuates chronic cerebral hypoperfusion-induced learning dysfunction and brain damage in rats, Brain Res. 1089 (2006) 162–170.

[26] X.-S. Gu, F. Wang, C.-Y. Zhang, C.-J. Mao, J. Yang, Y.-P. Yang, S. Liu, L.-F. Hu, C.-F. Liu, Neuroprotective Effects of Paeoniflorin on 6-OHDA-Lesioned Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease, Neurochem. Res. 41 (2016) 2923–2936.