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.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com