Not to be semantically confused with : Great Masterwort aka Pink Masterwort (Astrantia major) [a plant with similar name which belongs in the same Apiaceae family but which is an atypical umbellifer and looks nothing like Masterwort]
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature :
Masterwort is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe; in the UK it is an archaeophyte which was once cultivated as both a pot-herb and for veterinary use. It is naturalised in scattered places mainly in the North of England in grassy places, riversides and marshy fields. It is used overseas as a flavouring in various liqueurs and bitters. The roots and leaves have also variously been used as an incense, or as a tincture or as a fumigant.
Masterwort contains several coumarins and
furocoumarins, the first four being named after it:
Osthole, plus Imperatorin,
iso-Imperatorin. But since those secondary metabolites were named, Masterwort has had a botanical name change from Peucedanum ostruthium to Imperatoria ostruthium, thus those chemicals referring to Peucedanum (just
OxyPeucedanin) are now misnomers.
FUROCOUMARINS and COUMARINS
First the 4 FuroCoumarins:
IsoImperatorin is the isomer of Imperatorin. The difference being that the side branch off the 3 fused rings of FuroCoumarin has simply swapped from being attached at the bottom of the central ring to the top of it.
OxyPeucedanin is similar to IsoImperatorin, but the 5 carbon atoms of the side-branch have shuffled around a bit at the top to form a 3-membered epoxy ring of
Ethylene Oxide aka
Oxirane (the triangle with the oxygen atom in the ring). This Oxirane will probably make OxyPeucedanin more toxic than any of the other molecules shown in this panel.
Ostruthol has many additional moieties in the side chain, but lacks the Oxirane moiety of
The above two are just
Coumarins, albeit with side branches.
Osthol is more similar to Imperatorin but with a shorter side chain without the oxygen atom. All that is left of the Furo part is an -O- side branch on the bottom left.
Ostruthin is a hydroxy Coumarin with a Geranyl side chain.