Masterwort with white and green leaves and purple bud
[Imperatoria ostruthium]

Masterwort: Jack of all trades in folk medicine

Masterwort has a lofty name. In fact, it is a great medicinal plant and is used for the treatment of various medical problems. Today, its importance in medicine has logically decreased, but naturopathy knows to this day what value it holds. From the beginning of the Renaissance, the medicinal plant was a standard ingredient in every elixir of life and bitter drink prescribed. To this day, Tyrolean parlors are still smoked with masterwort at Christmas time to keep witches and evil spirits away.

Masterwort facts

Did you know that...

... the plant in Bavaria was originally found only in the Alps?

... makes the plant photosensitive when consumed in larger quantities?

... masterwort was ubiquitous in medicine and customs in the 16th - 19th centuries?

What is masterwort?

The masterwort is a perennial, herbaceous plant from the umbellifer family. It grows up to 100cm high, loves partial shade and is therefore usually found in damp meadows, forest edges or clearings. It blooms from June to August. It forms a typical white umbel. Its leaves are multilobed and have a serrated edge. The whole plant exudes an aromatic, carrot and celery-like odor. The most important and medicinally used part of the plant is the spindle-shaped rhizome. It is brown and milky. Its juice has a pungent and bitter taste. Due to the coumarins it contains, the medicinal plant is photosensitizing.

General and medicinal properties of Imperatoria ostruthium

The basic knowledge


Masterwort is appetizing. With its bitter substances, it gets the metabolism and digestion going. Thus, the foundation for a healthy appetite is laid. The feeling of hunger returns and the desire for food with it.


Masterwort is expectorant. The active ingredients contribute to the liquefaction of mucus in the body and can be better expelled. Therefore, it is much used in bronchial diseases to loosen stuck mucus again.

Promotes wound healing

Masterwort is wound-healing. It is often used externally as a tincture to cleanse and care for skin lesions. It promotes blood circulation and inhibits pathogens to infect the wound. Thus, the injury heals faster.

Imperatoria ostruthium: Ingredients

Masterwort contains a mixture of diverse substances that have medicinal uses, which condition the overall effect of the plant. 

The most significant of these are:

  • Essential oils
  • Coumarins such as oxypeucedanin, ostruthin, ostruthol, osthol

Masterwort: effect for body and mind

Masterwort is used both externally and internally. Internally, its expectorant effect is particularly noteworthy in bronchial and pulmonary diseases. In the same way, it strongly stimulates the liver and pancreas with its bitter substances, thus promoting digestion and is considered a gift to the stomach. The ancients also attribute to it an immunostimulant power, which is said to help speed up recovery even in the case of fever. Externally, Peucedanum is often used for poorly healing wounds, sores, ulcers or skin diseases. It strengthens the skin barrier and prevents infections. In addition, the wound can close better and should heal faster.

Imperatoria ostruthium properties

  • Appetizing
  • Antimicrobial
  • Immune-boosting
  • Digestive
  • Promotes wound healing
  • Stomach stimulating

Fields of application in naturopathy

[Imperatoria ostruthium]

Masterwort has quite a wide range of applications, which has been established therapeutically over the past centuries.

Imperatoria ostruthium in respiratory diseases

In diseases of the respiratory tract is usually the massive mucus the biggest problem. Masterwort with its coumarins helps to make the mucus more fluid. Thus, it dissolves easily and becomes easier to expectorate. The airways are thus relieved and protected by the reduced coughing stimulus.

Masterwort for loss of appetite

Masterwort is a bitter drug and contains strong bitter substances. These stimulate the digestive glands and salivary glands of the body. This creates hunger, because the body feels ready to absorb and digest food.

Imperatoria ostruthium for stomach cramps

Stomach cramps can have various causes. One of them may be that there are too few digestive juices available and the intestines cannot pass the food appropriately. As a result, the food remains longer in the stomach, which begins to cramp. Since digestion is stimulated by Masterwort, the intestinal passage is shortened and thus the time the food remains in the stomach. The stomach can relax again and the cramping can stop.

Masterwort for flatulence

Many cases of flatulence occur when there are too few digestive juices to adequately digest the food. Putrefactive gases are produced which then cause flatulence. Since Masterwort increases the amount of digestive juices, the food is broken down more quickly and thoroughly to help the putrefaction process. No gases are produced and therefore no flatulence.

Imperatoria ostruthium fever

Masterwort is also used to treat fever. Its effect is probably due to its essential oils. These have an antimicrobial effect and fight infections. They also stimulate the immune system and help to cope with the infection. Thus, the temperature of the body remains stable and does not rise uncontrollably. The coumarins of the masterwort also ensure that the blood circulation and the fluidity of the blood remain optimal.


Masterwort for gout & rheumatism

Gout and rheumatism have their causes in metabolic disorders that involve increased inflammation. The ingredients of masterwort stimulate digestion and thus also metabolism. A stronger metabolism also means improved excretion of urinary substances. The inflammation of the organism is thus reduced and gout or rheumatism can become more severe.

woman reaches for lemon - peppers and other fruit and vegetables on the worktop

Imperatoria ostruthium to increase the body's defenses

Masterwort stimulates the immune system with its active ingredients. This is thus better equipped against infections and ensures that the body's defenses are used to the maximum. With its antimicrobial effect, masterwort additionally relieves the defense system, so that capacities of the immune system are freed and can be used. 

Masterwort as a potency remedy

Masterwort has a proven effect on the body's blood circulation. The coumarins it contains make the blood more fluid and thus help to ensure that the cells are supplied with sufficient oxygen. This is also used in the treatment of potency problems, which is why the masterwort is also repeatedly part of potency-increasing mixtures.

Notes on the use of Imperatoria ostruthium

Masterwort is mostly used as a cure or for acute problems. It is usually a component of bitter elixirs taken orally to stimulate digestion. Used externally, it promotes wound healing, but also makes the affected area photosensitive. In case of existing ulcers of the stomach or small intestine, it should not be taken.

Masterwort in pregnancy & lactation

During pregnancy and lactation, masterwort should be used with caution due to the coumarins it contains, as it can affect the body's clotting and bleeding tendencies.

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white flower of masterwort close up



Botanical name

Imperatoria ostruthium

Plant family


Other designations



June till August

Harvest time

all year round





Flower color


Flower shape


Leaf color


Leaf shape

multilobed, serrated edge

Sheet properties


Soil type

Forest soil, humus

Soil moisture

moist to moderately dry


Acidic to neutral

Lime compatibility

lime tolerant

Nutrient requirements




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