5 Health Benefits and Uses for Tarragon

One of the fines herbes of French cuisine — along with parsley, chives, and chervil — tarragon is a frequently overlooked herb in North American cooking. I went most of my life without tasting it, except in the occasional Béarnaise sauce, for which tarragon provides the characteristic flavor. Now, however, I always keep a tarragon-infused wine vinegar on hand, as I love the flavor it imparts to homemade salad dressings. Once you learn about the many healing properties of tarragon, you may also wish to keep fresh tarragon in your fridge.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus or Artemisia dracunculoides) has a somewhat grassy look, with a slight anise or licorice flavor. There are two main varieties, French and Russian; the leaves of both can be used in food or medicine, but the French variety has a better flavor.

Aspirin Alternative: Research in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology found that tarragon has significant analgesic effects. Additionally, the herb has anti-inflammatory effects, making it an excellent choice in the treatment of pain disorders, including arthritis and fibromyalgia. Research in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that sugar increased the levels of many markers for pain and inflammation, but when a tarragon extract was given alongside the sugar, these levels dropped, suggesting analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects comparable to those found in the Pharmaceutical Biology study. The latter study used an infusion (tea) of tarragon in water. Use one tablespoon of fresh tarragon in one cup of boiled water and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink three times daily.

Blood Pressure Normalizer: According to the well-known botanist James Duke, PhD, tarragon contains six different compounds that are linked to lowering high blood pressure.

Toothache Tamer: When the ancient Greeks discovered that chewing tarragon numbs the mouth, they began to use the herb to treat toothaches. Because tarragon contains a potent anesthetic compound known as eugenol, today’s research confirms what the ancient Greeks knew: tarragon offers all-natural help for toothaches by numbing sensation in the mouth. Use it in moderation for this purpose.

Antidiabetes Potential: Exciting preliminary research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology shows that an extract of tarragon stimulates the release of insulin by the pancreas, which is involved in regulating blood sugar. This new research offers hope for alternative treatments for diabetes sufferers.

Energy Booster: In the first century, the Roman writer Pliny noted that tarragon prevented fatigue on long journeys. While I am not aware of any research exploring this claim, it is worth considering.

In the kitchen, fresh tarragon can be used in vegetable or fish dishes, in white sauces, and with mild cheeses or dairy-free cheeses. It’s best to use fresh tarragon leaves since the herb loses most of its medicinal properties when dried. Fortunately, you can easily preserve the medicinal benefits of the fresh plant in vinegar by placing it in your favorite vinegar (apple cider vinegar is great) and allowing it to infuse for 2 weeks prior to straining out the herb.

Related:

Don’t Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves
Should You Actually Starve a Fever?

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.

 

150 comments

Elizabeth O
Elizabeth Oyesterday

Thanks for the article.

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Elisa F
Elisa F2 days ago

Thanks for sharing :)

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Frank K
Frank Kling3 days ago

The answer to our diseases and ailments exists in nature. Unfortunately, we are driving so many species extinct that many are lost before discovered- gone forever due to mankind's insatiable greed. Trump and his Republican confederates in congress are the most anti-nature ever to hold office.

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Glennis W
Glennis W3 days ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Angeles Madrazo
Angeles Madrazo3 days ago

Thank you

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Elisabeth H
Elisabeth H3 days ago

Like tarragon. ty

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Sharon Tully
Sharon Tully3 days ago

Good stuff. Thanks

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Val M
Val M3 days ago

I'll put fresh tarragon on my shopping list!

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Pearl W
Pearl W3 days ago

Hi all - Who knew? - not me - Thanks - smiles

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Colin C
Colin C3 days ago

Fresh Tarragon in a Bearnaise sauce is so tasty

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