Medicinal plants

Tarragon – Application & Treatment for Health


Tarragon , botanical name Artemisia dracunculus , is a herb of the daisy family. The perennial plant originally comes from the Orient. It grows wild in southern Europe, but is cultivated agriculturally. The herb is not only appreciated by cooks, but also by followers of herbal medicine.

Occurrence and cultivation of tarragon

It was most likely the Crusaders who brought tarragon from Asia to Europe, as the word tarragon comes from the Arabic language. It quickly became a valued herb in the monastery gardens. The plant owes other names such as dragon and snakeweed to a widespread superstition that tarragon keeps dragons away and helps with snake bites. In China, it was mentioned as a spice between 2000 and 1000 BC.

Tarragon is still native to Asia today, as well as Northwest America, Russia and southern Europe, where it is mainly grown in France and Italy. Wormwood and mugwort are distant relatives of tarragon. All belong to the genus Artemisia. The perennial plant grows up to two meters high and prefers sunny locations with nutrient-rich but not too moist soil. When the herbs bloom, the small yellow flowers form panicles.

The plant is easy to propagate by dividing the rootstock and grows relatively quickly. It not only grows in the garden, but can also be easily grown in flower pots. Two types are known, the so-called real French tarragon and the Russian, also called Siberian tarragon. The French variant has a finer aroma, while its Russian relative tastes a bit bitter and is therefore rarely used.

Effect & Application

In the kitchen, tarragon is known and loved as a spice. The kitchens of Italy and France in particular use it happily and generously. The young leaves and shoots in particular are used for seasoning. In addition to chervil, dill and parsley , tarragon can always be found in classic herbal mixtures. The essential oils that give the herbs their distinctive flavor are at their highest just before flowering.

This is the right time to harvest the shoots, which are about 30 centimeters long (May to October). Tarragon can be used in many ways in the kitchen. It is used to flavor cucumbers, vinegar, mustard, sauces, marinades, salads, quark, soups and herb butter. Tender fish and poultry dishes are also enriched with the finely spiced herb, as are mushrooms, mussels and lamb. Even liqueur can be made from the herbs. The real French

Tarragon tastes spicy and fresh and has a slightly sweet taste. In contrast to Russian, which tastes somewhat bitter and slightly oily. This has to do with the essential oils, of which the French has far more to offer. These include estragole, ocimene, camphor, limonene, myrcene and phellandrene. Other ingredients are flavones, tannins and bitter substances, coumarins and glycosides, as well as plenty of vitamin C and some minerals such as sodium , calcium , magnesium , iron and potassium .

Traces of delorazepam were also found. This chemical compound from the benzodiazepine group is known for its calming effects. However, as a medicinal substance, the minute amount is meaningless. Only the estragole has fallen into disrepute at times. The essential oil, which is also contained in fennel , anise or basil, showed carcinogenic and mutagenic effects in animal experiments. The Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection therefore recommends its sole use as a kitchen spice.

However, several medical studies contradict this assessment, which classify even a multiple of normal consumption as harmless. The Federal Institute therefore also concedes that a specific health risk could not be proven and that the recommendation should be understood as a pure precautionary measure, which refers in particular to fennel tea, which is given to children for flatulence .

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Thanks to its numerous ingredients, tarragon is not only valued in the kitchen, but also in naturopathy. The field of application of tarragon is quite extensive. As early as the Middle Ages, naturopaths took advantage of the substances and used them against plague . Due to its relatively high vitamin C content, tarragon was used to treat scurvy . In ancient Rome, soldiers drank a decoction against exhaustion . And chewing tarragon roots helped with toothache .

In India there was a special power drink made from tarragon and fennel. Today, the essential oils are valued above all for strengthening the digestive organs. Bitter substances stimulate the formation of gastric juices and help digest rich foods. At the same time, they stimulate the appetite and relieve flatulence. There is evidence that chewing fresh leaves will drive away the hiccups. When drunk as a tea, tarragon promotes kidney activity. It is even said to have a worm-expelling effect.

The stimulating effect on the metabolism makes the plant a popular remedy for rheumatic diseases and gout . Gynecology also benefits from the phytosterols in tarragon. They have a regulating effect on the menstrual cycle and can trigger delayed menstrual bleeding. Pregnant women should therefore be careful, at least at the beginning, as the herbs have a menstrual effect and can trigger a miscarriage.

Herbs do a good job during menopause. Their phytohormones reduce symptoms such as hot flashes , depressive moods , irritability and headaches . The vitamin C makes the plant a tried and tested remedy for colds , spring fatigue and coughs . A cup of tarragon tea in the evening calms and helps you fall asleep.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.