Valerie Lull MH
Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, is a herb that is often used in French cooking. There is also a Russian version of the herb but the French variety is more flavorful. In France tarragon is known as the "King of Herbs". Most people consider tarragon as a culinary herb, and some folks even call it a spice. It is used in fish, soups, stews, egg dishes, meat, tomato and sauces. The flavor of tarragon is similar to anise.
Tarragon was not used in ancient societies and the first mention of human use was more than 600 years ago. It was imported to Italy in the 10th century by the Mongols who used it for sleep and seasoning in foods. From there the use of the herb eventually spread to France.
Besides culinary uses, tarragon has health benefits. Some of them include digestive issues, appetite problems, toothache, to start menstruation and as a tea for insomnia. Tarragon contains the minerals calcium, Iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. It also has vitamins A, C and several of the B vitamins.
Tarragon can be used fresh, or dried. It can be used to make a tea which some sources say can be used for weight loss. Tarragon can be used as an essential oil that can be diffused as a deodorizer, it can be added to bath water or used as a compress. It is also available in capsules or as an extract.
Tarragon use has a down side if used in excess. Children and pregnant women should not use it. Be sure to consult your health care provider before using tarragon for medicinal purposes. It might be a good idea to do the skin patch test to test for allergies. Simply put a diluted drop of tarragon essential oil on your skin. Wait awhile to see if there is a reaction.