The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869    

HERACLEUM LANATUM

COW PARSNIP, MASTERWORT

Description:  Natural Order, Umbelliferae.  A large and strong-scented plant, four to eight feet high, perennial.  Leaves once or twice ternately-compound; leaflets somewhat  heart-shaped ; petioles broad and sheathing.  Flowers white, small, in large flat umbels.  Fruit obovate or orbicular, one-fourth to three-eighths of an inch long.  Growing in damp and rich grounds.

Properties and Uses:  The root of this plant is rank and acrid when fresh, but less acrid when dry.  It is pronounced a strong antispasmodic, stimulant, and carminative, and has been reputed of much efficacy in hysteria, suppressed menstruation, colic, asthma, and even epilepsy.   From personal experience, I can say nothing of the article; but the accounts of it lead me to suspect that it is an aero-narcotic poison.   It is usually confounded with the angelica, which is the true masterwort; and it  seems  probable  that  the repute  associated with  heracleum, really belongs to the other article.


 Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com