What Is Tarragon? Useful From Kitchen To Medicine Cabinet

If you are asking yourself, "Just what is tarragon?" I would love to take a moment to introduce you to this aromatic, tasty, diverse and powerful little herb - Tarragon.

With a huge array of herbs available for cooking and medicinal purposes, it may sometimes seem overwhelming to determine which ones are the most useful to keep on hand in your home. Keep reading until the end to learn some of the ways to use it on a regular basis.


What Is Tarragon?


Tarragon is a perennial herb in the same family as daisies that originated in central Asia, probably Siberia.

Tarragon, also known as dragon wort, grows as a small shrub with highly aromatic and edible leaves on slender, woody branches. Today, it is grown and cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes all over the world.

Cooking With Tarragon

There are several different varieties of tarragon, but French Tarragon is the one most frequently used in cooking. The pointed, gray-green leaves of tarragon have a strong and distinctive taste that is slightly peppery and somewhat reminiscent of licorice, anise or fennel.

It is best to use tarragon fresh, rather than dried, as you may find dried tarragon to be somewhat lacking in flavor. Fresh tarragon makes a unique and tasty addition to green salads.

However, if your kitchen lacks of tarragon, you can pick one from 8 Things You Can Substitue For Tarragon When Cooking.

Many Mediterranean dishes call for tarragon. It pairs wonderfully with fish, chicken, veal, potatoes and eggs, and it is the primary seasoning in the popular creamy Béarnaise sauce. I have found that tarragon easily dominates other flavors in cooking, so add gradually until you figure out how much you like in your cooking.

Making A Drink


One of the easiest ways to enjoy the delicious flavor of tarragon is in fresh tarragon tea.

  • ​Boil water by using tea kettle
  • Add 1 TBSP fresh tarragon leaves to boil in water (8-10 oz of water)
  • Turn down the heat
  • Let the tea steep for at least 5 minutes

You may enjoy tarragon tea alone, but you can also add things such as ginger, lemon or honey. Many find that these additions improve the overall flavor and provide a nutritional boost as well.

Or if you want something more fun​, Rose and Tarragon Cocktail is here for you.  

Healing and Preventative Benefits

Tarragon, in its various forms, can help prevent many medical ailments or help improve existing conditions.

​Preventing Cancer

Tarragon is surprisingly high in free radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and iron. A diet rich in antioxidants helps to prevent cancer, and iron is essential in the production of red blood cells and proper dispersion of oxygen throughout your body.

Providing Relief

Tarragon contains an oil, called eugenol, that has a natural numbing effect. If you are suffering from mild mouth pain, drinking tarragon tea or chewing on the leaves directly can provide some relief.

Appetite Stimulant

Traditionally, tarragon has been used as an appetite stimulant for those struggling with repressed appetite and has even been somewhat successful in treating patients in the early stages of eating disorders.

Tarragon contains poly-phenolic compounds, which help to balance and maintain healthy blood sugar levels if used regularly.

Preventing Insomnia

You may find that drinking tarragon tea before bed helps to battle insomnia and promote a healthy and restful night's sleep.

Fighting Bad Breath And Body Odor

Tarragon essential oil is naturally antimicrobial, so it can be used to fight bad breath or added to homemade deodorant to lessen body odor.

Tarragon aids the liver in production of bile, helps to improve digestion, relieves flatulence and lessens the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Diffusing Tarragon

  • Tarragon essential oil has both antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
  • Diffusing tarragon oil can help with issues such as colitis, menstrual problems, travel sickness, respiratory illness and whooping cough.
  • If added to a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut, tarragon essential oil can help alleviate muscle cramps if massaged into the affected area.
  • Ingesting tarragon oil following meals has been shown to help digestion, but you should only do this under careful doctor supervision.

Cautions Of Tarragon Use

With all of the health benefits of tarragon, you may be ready to rush out and add a few plants to your herb garden.

For most people, this is a fabulous idea, but there are some cautions to be practiced when introducing to your diet, and there are some individuals who should avoid using tarragon for medicinal purposes.

Allergic Reaction​

Tarragon is a member of the Asteraceae family, along with ragweed and marigolds. If you have an allergic reaction to other plants in this family, you should exercise extreme caution if you plan to incorporate tarragon into your diet.

Pregnant And While Breastfeeding Women

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid tarragon. The same properties that make tarragon beneficial to women's overall reproductive health and aid in suppressed menstruation can cause it to be dangerous to pregnant women.


If you are always on the lookout for new ways to add nutrition and diversity to your life, consider adding tarragon to your herb garden or your spice rack.

3 Ways To Take Advantages Of Tarragon In Your Daily Life

  • Cook with it
  • Steep it as tea or make a cocktail with it.
  • Using diffuse tarragon oil

Do you have any questions about how I grow or use it? Feel free to ask in the comment section!


Paula Hughes

I’m Paula, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of two small boys, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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