Perhaps best known for securing a lofty position in French cuisine, tarragon offers medicinal and nutritional support as well. Russian tarragon is milder in taste than its counterpart from France. It is also easier to grow, rising from either seed or cutting. French tarragon, on the other hand, is cultivated mainly through the use of clippings or through root division. As it grows effortlessly on your windowsill, this herb can be enjoyed at its freshest stage season after season.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Tarragon boasts an exceptionally broad spectrum of vitamins (A, B-complex, and C) and minerals (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc). Natural healers have employed this herb to stimulate the appetite and serve as a remedy for anorexia. Its polyphenolic compounds work to lower blood glucose levels. Tarragon offers other compounds charged with the task of inhibiting platelet activation, and this in turn protects the heart and brain from clot-generated heart attacks and strokes, respectively. Traditionally, tarragon has been employed to allay tooth pain since the eugenol that it bears is the same mouth-numbing anesthetic compound found in clove oil, a botanical medicine still widely used in the dental profession.
ABOUT THE HERB
Native to Eastern Europe and Central Asia — possibly originating in Siberia — tarragon is a small shrub that features woody stems that branch out while growing two to three feet above ground. The dark green leaves are smooth, with pointy tips. Tarragon is also known as the little dragon, since its root features a serpentine shape that led the ancients to value it as a cure for snakebites.
Enjoy the unique, refreshing flavor of home-grown tarragon in your green salads. Add its slightly dried leaves to the bottle of vinegar that graces your kitchen table, splashing a dash onto your favorite dishes. In the evening, sip a cup of tarragon herb tea before bedtime, as it has long been used as a cure for insomnia.