Mountain Rose Herbs

Tarragon

Also known as

Artemisia dracunculus, French Tarragon, German Tarragon, Dragon Wormwood, Dragonwort, Dragon Mugwort and sometimes called both Mugwort and Wormwood.

Introduction

Tarragon is an aromatic Eurasian perennial cultivated for its sweet, anise-like flavor. Its Latin name, dracunculus, means “little dragon” and is derived from the medieval belief that the shape of a plant reflected its uses (the Doctrine of Signatures). Because its roots appear serpentine, medieval herbalists regarded tarragon as a treatment for snakebite. Today tarragon is not widely used medicinally, but the fresh leaves and stems are used in cooking, and at least one master chef has declared that scrambled eggs with the right amount of tarragon are a bit of heaven. Tarragon imparts its flavor readily, and is one of the herbs often used in making flavored vinegars and oils. While dried tarragon is sometimes used as a seasoning, the drying loses much of the flavor of the herb. Instead, many herbalists recommend starting a plant from a cutting to keep inside throughout the winter.

Constituents

Phenylpropanoids methyl chavicol (also called estragole), anethol (10%), terpenes trans-b-ocimene (up to 22%), cis-b-ocimene (up to 15%) and y-terpineol, p-methoxy cinnamaldehyde , phellandrene, a- and b-pinene, camphene, limonene and eugenol

Parts Used

Leaves and stems

Typical Preparations

Fresh or dried leaves and stems usually included into culinary dishes

Summary

While there are some ancient traditional medicinal uses for tarragon, its most common use is as a culinary herb. Used fresh, it imparts a spicy, minty licorice flavor to salads and egg dishes, as well as to cooked meats and poultry. It should not be used in soups, as the flavor is too strong. Because many insects dislike the smell and taste of tarragon, it can be useful as a companion plant to keep the garden pest-free.

Precautions

None known.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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