We think this is one of the most beautifully fragrant of flowers. We wait for June with nostrils poised all the rainy Spring. A full bodied floral that announces springtime whenever and wherever it is worn. The first use of peonies by people was for their medicinal value. There is evidence that peonies were used extensively in both the Far East and Europe as long as two thousand years ago. Many parts of the plant are purported to have medicinal properties. Roots, bark, seeds and flowers were all believed to be of some medicinal use. Whereas peonies have been used continually in medicine in the eastern world, the same cannot be said of the western world. Peonies were used during medieval times. However their popularity subsequently declined and until recently, little was heard of the medicinal properties of peonies. Peony seeds have been swallowed whole to prevent bad dreams or used in a poultice to relieve stomach aches. Flower petals have been dried and used to make a tea that was reputed to soothe a cough. They were considered a panacea. In the middle ages there were not many ailments that peonies were not thought to soothe! Today a number of medical researchers throughout the world are isolating compounds in peonies and evaluating their medical potential. The available research suggests that there are numerous useful compounds found in peonies and it is possible to project, that in time, researchers will be using compounds found in peony to create modern drugs to treat some of our more serious diseases. The peony has inspired artists in eastern and western parts of the world. Prior to the seventeenth century it was the artists of China and Japan who incorporated images of the peony into their work. The peony is de facto the national flower of China and is often referred to in poetry and literature. Peonies are one of the main motifs of Chinese decorative arts and can be found on porcelains, in woodblock and screen paintings as well as embroidered onto tapestries and clothing.