Tarragon Leaf
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Botanical:   Artemisia dracunculus
Family:   Compositae (daisy) - Asteraceae (aster)
Other common names:  Estragon, Little Dragon, Dragon's Mugwort, French Tarragon


Tarragon Leaf not only flavors our foods; it is indispensable for our digestive systems, helping to alleviate dyspepsia, flatulence, hiccups, indigestion and poor appetite.  It is an old-time, natural anesthetic for pain and will also help insomniacs by inducing sleep.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Tarragon is a hardy perennial that is native to southern Europe (with another, bland variety from Siberia). The plant may be found throughout Europe (arriving in England in the 1500s) and North America, growing wild on plains, prairies and dry slopes, or cultivated as a crop in well-drained, neutral-to-slightly-alkaline soil in sun and warmth. The leaves are narrow, alternate, lanceolate (or oblong) in shape, with tiny, gray-green flowering heads, and the plant may reach five feet in height. With its delicate licorice flavor, Tarragon Leaf is closely allied to its relative, wormwood (or artemisia), and its botanical genus, Artemisia, is derived from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have found the plants and delivered their powers to the centaur.  Used as an herbal medicine in ancient Greece, Tarragon Leaf was employed as an anesthetic to relieve toothache.  Its botanical specific, dracunculus, is derived from the Latin word for "little dragon," giving Tarragon Leaf several of its common names (Dragon's Mugwort and Little Dragon).  To this (as with other "dragon" herbs) was ascribed the power of curing the bites and stings of venomous beasts and mad dogs.  Tarragon Leaf is a bitter, warming, aromatic and stimulating herb that was one of the herbs Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor A.D. 800-814) ordered to be planted on all his estates. The seventeenth-century English diarist, John Evelyn, noted that Tarragon was a "friend to the head, heart and liver," and records indicate that the plant had been transported to Dutch settlements in the New World by 1650, and listed as one of the early settlers' thirty-three common plants.  The French are especially fond of this aromatic, anise-like herb and often use it to delicately flavor foods like eggs, fish, cheese and chicken, and it is an indispensable ingredient in sauce béarnaise and in the herb mixture the French call fines herbes.  Its oil is used in flavorings, perfumery and detergents, and the leaves are used (sparingly, because it is strong) in sauces, salad dressings, mustards and, of course, it is an important factor in herbal medicines.  Some of the chemical constituents in Tarragon Leaf include a rich source of iodine, volatile oil (dominated by phenylpropanoids, methyl chavicol and anethol), terpenes, cinnamaldehyde, pinene, camphene, limonene, eugenol, mineral salts, vitamins A and C.

Beneficial Uses:
Tarragon Leaf is considered a fine stomachic that tones and gives strength to the stomach, helping to relieve gastric disorders and bowel complaints. The herb has long been used to stimulate the digestive system, relieving dyspepsia, flatulence, hiccups, nervous or sluggish digestion and indigestion.  Considered a cholagogue, Tarragon Leaf is said to promote bile production by the liver, which also aids digestion, echoing its centuries-old use by herbalists to improve liver function.   It also helps to stimulate the appetite, particularly the poor appetites of those suffering from illness or debility and is sometimes helpful in cases of anorexia. 

Closely allied to its relative, Wormwood (also known as Absinthe or Artemisia), Tarragon Leaf is considered extremely valuable for helping to destroy and remove intestinal worms.

As a mild diuretic, Tarragon Leaf stimulates the action of the kidneys and promotes urine flow.  As such, it helps to flush impurities from the kidneys and is also said to benefit the genitourinary system and alleviate urinary tract infection.

Tarragon Leaf is a uterine stimulant (and should never be used by pregnant women) and is considered an emmenagogue or agent that promotes the onset of suppressed menstruation.

Tarragon Leaf is also considered a soporific or agent/herb that induces sleep, and this action is beneficial in cases of insomnia.  (A tea made from Tarragon Leaf, taken prior to bedtime, is said to calm the body and facilitate sleep.)

The eugenol in Tarragon Leaf is said to be a natural anesthetic and has been used externally for toothache (confirming its ancient use) and for rheumatism.

Pregnant and nursing women should not use Tarragon Leaf Herbal Supplement. Those who suffer from allergies to members of the daisy (Compositae) family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) should consult a doctor before using this product. 

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