The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Heracleum lanatum L.
  • Heracleum maximum L.
  • Umbel family

Common Names

  • Cow cabbage
  • Cow parsnip
  • Hogweed
  • Madnep
  • Madness
  • Woolly parsnip
  • Youthwort

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Parts Usually Used

Seed, rootstock
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Description of Plant(s) and

Masterwort is a large perennial plant; the large fleshy rootstock produces a stout, grooved, woolly stem, often 2 inches thick at the base and 3 to 8 feet high. The thin, hairy leaves are ternately compound and have broad, irregularly toothed leaflets. Large, compound umbels of dull white or purplish flowers appear during June and July. Seeds are flat and blackish, bigger than Dill seeds.
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Where Found

Grows on wet ground in Canada and the northern half of the United States.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, carminative, stimulant
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Biochemical Information

Roots contain phototoxic compounds, including psoralen
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Masterwort is under investigation for treatment of psoriasis, leukemia, and AIDS.

This plant resembles Angelica and care should be taken in identification of the plant before use. The root of masterwort is hotter than pepper.
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A decoction of masterwort rootstock or seed used for colds, fever, asthma, dyspepsia, colic, dropsy, gout, epilepsy, palsy, apoplexy, expel gas from the bowels, increases the flow of urine, gravel in kidneys, scanty menstruation with painful cramps, and spasmodic problems. Externally, as a wash for wounds, sores, bruises, and ulcers.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: take 1 to 2 tsp. in a cup of water per day.

Powdered root: 1 tsp. per day.
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Fresh foliage can produce dermatitis in susceptible individuals. Cattle are reported to have been killed from eating the foliage. Acrid sap can cause blisters on contact.
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Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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