Tree Peony (Mu Dan Pi)

Giving patients the best plant medicine available is important to me. That’s why I order all of my whole, raw herbs from Spring Wind, an importer in California (despite crazy shipping fees – ulp!). Not only do they have the strictest testing standards for contaminants, but their love for the medicine shines through in the little things.

For example, I just got a shipment of mu dan pi (root cortex of tree peony). It’s super fragrant, which is not the case with the same stuff from other vendors. It also came packaged with this beautiful detail about its origin:

This mu dan pi hails from Feng Huang (Pheonix) Mountain in An Hui province. This mountain is so named because of a rock on the mountaintop that has an indentation that resembles a Pheonix claw mark. The story goes that it was a stopping spot for Pheonixes. The beautiful tree peony flowers that grow on the mountain have become legendary, and since the Eastern Jin dynasty (265-420 CE) the plants have been considered to produce the finest grade of mu dan pi. The fertile soil, plentiful rainfall and short frost season provide an ideal setting… .

Aesthetics matter. They reflect care and attention, as well as understanding of patterns of connection. Those are fundamental qualities in natural medicine. Besides telling me that this mu dan pi was grown and harvested in an ancient tradition of highly specialized expertise, this little story assures me that the supplier can be trusted when it comes to the health of my patients. So, I eat the shipping fees.

I use mu dan pi primarily for women’s health issues involving stagnant blood and pain. When it fits the pattern just right, it’s like a key in a lock. Long-standing patterns sometimes change quickly.