Botanical Name: Imperatoria ostruthium
Species: P. ostruthium
Common Name: Masterwort
Habitat :Masterwort is native to the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, including the Carpathians, Alps, northern Apennines, Massif Central and isolated occurrences in the Iberian Peninsula. It has, however, been widely introduced and cultivated and its native range is therefore not entirely clear.It grows in woodland, damp fields, river banks and mountain meadows.
Masterwort is a smooth, perennial plant, the stout, furrowed stem growing 2 to 3 feet high. The dark-green leaves, which somewhat resemble those of Angelica, are on very long foot-stalks and are divided into `three leaflets, each of which is often again sub-divided into three. The umbels of flowers are large and many-rayed, the corollas white; the fruit has very broad wings…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Dislikes shade. This report contradicts the report that this plant grows wild in woodlands. Masterwort was at one time cultivated as a pot herb and for medicinal purposes, though it has now fallen into virtual disuse. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.
Seed – It is suggested to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Leaves – cooked. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring. The aromatic roots can be used as a flavouring. They are said to taste hotter than pepper. A particularly popular drink is made from the fermented roots.
Part Used in medicine: The Root.
The plant is a source of coumarins, including oxypeucedanin, ostruthol, imperatorin, osthole, isoimperatorin and ostruthin.
Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative; of use in asthma, dyspepsia, menstrual complaints.
Masterwort is little used in modern herbalism, but it may well be a herb that bears further investigation. It was held in high regard in the Middle Ages where it was especially valued for its ability to resolve all flatulence in the body and stimulate the flow of urine and menstruation. It was also used in treating rheumatic conditions, shortness of breath, kidney and bladder stones, water retention and wounds. The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, strongly carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant and stomachic. It is of use in the treatment of asthma, dyspepsia and menstrual complaints, an infusion helps to relieve migraine. The root is gathered in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. An essential oil from the plant has a euphoric and odontalgic effect. Used externally, it relieves skin irritation. When used externally, the plant or the extracted essential oil can cause an allergic reaction to sunlight. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. No details of its applications are given.
Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine