This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Pharm. Edinb. Imperatoria major C. B. Imperatoria astrutium hob. & Linn. Astrantia Dod. Smyrnion hortenfe Trag. Struthium bodie vocation Cord. Masterwort: an umbelliferous plant, with large winged leaves divided into three indented segments; producing thick oblong, striated seeds fur-rounded with a narrow leafy margin: the roots are oblong, thick, knobby, jointed, with several lateral fibres, brown on the outside and whitish within. It is perennial, a native of the Alps and Pyreneans, from whence we are supplied with roots supposed to be superiour to those which are raised in our gardens.
(a) Below, Eph. nat. curios. dec. i. ann. vi. & vii. obs . 22. Boerhaave, hist. plant, p. 369.
The root of imperatoria is a very warm and moderately grateful aromatic, nearly of the same nature with that of angelica. Insused in water, or digested in rectisied spirit, it impregnates both menstrua strongly with its fragrant smell; the former weakly, the latter strongly, with its warmth, pungency, and bitterishnefs; the former with a muddy brownish, the latter with a bright yellow colour. On inspissating the spirituous tincture, very little of its flavour exhales with the spirit: the remaining deep yellow extract smells moderately of the root, and impresses on the organs of taste a consider-able bitterness and glowing pungency. Water carries off in evaporation nearly all the speciflc flavour of the masterwort, leaving, in the dark brown extract, a nauseous bitterness with a slight degree of warmth or acrimony.