Tarragon is a low shrub found in Asia but is now mainly grown in European countries since it has become a staple herb in European cooking. It has flat and narrow leaves with a glossy texture. There are two major types of tarragon, Russian and French. French tarragon has a delicate and a very balanced flavor whereas Russian tarragon is harsh tasting with less aroma to it. Tarragon has a bittersweet flavor, which seems like a mix of anise and licorice root. Tarragon is widely used in classic French cooking as a part of the “fine herbs” blend. The tenderness of tarragon leaves makes it easier to use tarragon with other greens for salads and is sprinkled like garnish. The German variety of tarragon is called estragon. Estragon is commonly used by infusing different types of vinegar, which makes a French sweet-flavored tea that is used for treating insomnia.
Tarragon contains magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium in high quantities. It is also rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C as well as B-6. There are many surprising benefits of this common herb and here is a list of few of those.
11 Amazing Health Benefits and Uses of Tarragon
The extracts of the leaves, shoots, and aerial parts of tarragon contain active ingredients. These active ingredients restrict the growth of pro-inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins, necrosis factors, sympathomimetic amines, and interleukins. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acid, which is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Tarragon stimulates the secretion of digestive juices by the liver, pancreas, and stomach. It increases the production of bile in liver, which is important of efficient digestion. Consumption of tarragon improves blood circulation in the gut with the help of all the antioxidants and carotenoids it is packed with. The Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University College Cork in Ireland observed the effects of common herbs that contain carotenoids on digestion. Results showed these herbs “contribute to the intake of bio accessible carotenoids,” which assists the digestive health.
As a rich source of Vitamin C, vitamin A and B-complex vitamin groups, tarragon works as an antioxidant and also aid in metabolism.
Improves Menstrual Health
By Chewing tarragon leaves and roots, and drinking tarragon tea helps in relieving menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding. Eugenol present in tarragon reduces menstrual pain and the high concentration of magnesium relaxes the muscles. Tarragon also happens to have labor-inducing properties. However, it is suggested to not use tarragon during pregnancy or nursing.
In a recent research, thyme, a similar herb, showed relief in period cramps and promote menstruation thereby making thyme a good substitute of tarragon.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Dietary fibers and poly-phenolic compounds present in tarragon helps in equal calorie distribution in all the organs of the body. To maintain the blood sugar levels, it is important for the calorie consumption to be evenly distributed. A research suggested that tarragon extracts lowered glucose concentrations by 20% in the blood thereby improving insulin sensitivity.
The plants of the Artemisia group, of which tarragon is a part, have been used as sedatives for a long time. The French have used this herb to treat insomnia. Brewed tarragon leaves before going to bed help in calming down the nervous system.
Helps in Treating Toothache
Traditional herbal medicine has employed fresh tarragon leaves as a home remedy for toothache relief. The ancient Greeks supposedly chewed the tarragon leaves to numb the mouth. It is because of the high levels of eugenol, occurs naturally as anesthetic chemical in tarragon, that the herb is able to relieve pain. Clove oil contains the same pain-relieving eugenol making it a substitute of tarragon. Consumption of tarragon also helps with sore gums that often accompanied by toothaches. Tarragon brew herbal tea also has same effects.
Tarragon contains antioxidants that help support cardiovascular health. Regular consumption of tarragon can help reduce the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Many Mediterranean diets which claim to be heart healthy use tarragon as a main herb for its heart benefits due to its high level of potassium concentrate. Potassium helps in regulating heart contraction.
Takes Care of Your Eyes
It is not a new fact that Vitamin A improves visual acuity and prevents cataract. Tarragon is rich in vitamin A and therefore keeps our eyes healthy and prevents eye diseases. It is also rich in beta-carotene which promotes healthy eye functioning.
Historically, tarragon has been used to stimulate appetite and alleviate anorexic symptoms. It is known already that tarragon is surprisingly rich in vitamin C, folate and manganese. Tarragon contains phyto-nutrients that are vital for optimum health. It is also considered a “warming herb,” meaning that it is great for building up some body heat.
The high amount of antioxidants in tarragon leaves boosts the metabolism. A study conducted in 2005 showed that tarragon oil helps in fighting free radicals and dispose them off efficiently as waste.
Aids in Muscle Gain
Research conducted on the Russian variety of tarragon showed that this herb helps in absorption of creatinine, which is similar to the effect of eating large amounts of carbohydrates. This is important because this new finding means that people don’t have to eat a lot of carbs in order to gain muscle mass. This can be helpful to not only body builders but also people who want to watch their weight.
The French were right when they titled tarragon, “The King of Herbs”. Apart from its culinary brilliance, this herb is a superfood and we can reap its health benefits if we started consuming this herb on a regular basis in enough quantity.