Masterwort

(Peucedanum ostruthium) A native of southern Europe, introduced into British physic gardens in the Middle Ages, and now naturalized beside streams and in damp meadows. It enjoyed the reputation, as spurious as all the rest of them, of being an antidote to poison (Grigson. 1955), repeated in Gerard: "... good against all poison, ., singular against all corrupt and naughty aire and infection of the pestilence ..." A Scottish cure for ague was "a little bit of ox-dung drunk with half a scruple of masterwort" (Graham), if such a mixture can be imagined. Gerard too recommended it for the ague among other ills, including a prescription that "helpeth such as have taken great squats, bruses, or falls from some high place...". Hill used the root, telling us that it is "good in fevers, disorders of the head, and of the stomach and bowels ...". In fact, the root is still used in homeopathic medicine, in tincture, for stomach ailments and for dermatitis (Grigson. 1955).

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