First called "Estragon"
derived from the Arabic word "tharkhoum'" and the Latin word
"dracunculus" meaning "little dragon" probably from
the way the roots curls up like a dragon. The French refer to
it as the "King of Herbs," flavoring many of its classic cuisine.
Tarragon is an aromatic perennial
small shrub with slim woody branching stems growing to a height of 2 to 3 feet. Leaves are linear or lanceolate , 1 to
4 inches long, with small globe-shaped yellow or greenish-white flowers
in terminal panicles.
- Estragole is the main constituent of tarragon essential oil.
- Active secondary metabolites are essential oil (0.15%-3.1%), coumarins (>1%), flavonoids, and phenolcarbonic acids.
- Analysis of essential oil yielded main components of 3,7-dimethyl-1,3,7-octatriene (38.43%), 1S-alpha-pinene (36.96%), 1-methoxy-4-(2-Propenyl)-benzene (8.57%), limonene (6.33%), 1R-alpha-pinene (3.40%), etc. (17)
- Study of essential oil extracted from air-dried shoots yielded
34 compounds. Major constituents were trans-Anethole (28.06%), Z-β-ocimene (15.79%), α- Terpenolene (10.12%), Elemecin (10.08%), 1, 8 cineole (7.71%) and α- copaene (2.78%), etc. (18)
- Nutrient analysis of herb per 100 g of herb yielded (Principles) energy 295 Kcal, carbohydrates 50.22 g, protein 22.77 g, total fat 7.24 g, cholesterol 0 mg,
dietary fiber 7.4 g, (Vitamins) folates 274 µg, niacin 8.950 mg, pyridoxine 2.410 mg, riboflavin 1.339 mg, thiamin 0.251 mg, vitamin A 4200 IU, vitamin C 50.0 mg, (Electrolytes) sodium 62 mg, potassium 3020 mg / 64% RDA, (Minerals) calcium 1139 mg, copper 0.677 mg, iron 32.30 mg / 403% RDA, magnesium 347 mg, manganese 7.967 mg / 346% RDA. zinc 3.90 mg. (19)
- Study of essential oil yielded 19 compounds with main compounds of methyl chavicol (84.83%), trans-ocimene (3.86%), z-β-ocimene (3.42%), limonene (1.79%) and α-pinene (0.57%). Total phenols were 10.16 ± 0.08 mg/g gallic acid equivalent. (see study below) (23)
- The French variety has
the aromatic oils lacking in Russian tarragon.
- The undiluted oil may be irritating to the skin.
- A rich plant source of potassium.
- Considered antiscorbutic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypnotic,
stomachic and vermifuge.
- Studies have suggested antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and antihyperglycemic properties.
- Shares a common name with
- Cross-allergenicity in those sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae
family; i.e., ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies.
Above ground parts.
- A culinary herb with distinctly
flavored leaves that enhances the flavors of food (fish, poultry, pork,
lamb, etc.). Used fresh in salads and as garnishes. Use in small amounts.
Bitter when overcooked.
- Leaves used in the making of tarragon vinegar.
- Used for digestive disorders,
- To promote menstruation.
- Used as a diuretic and to enhance the appetite.
- In Iranian folk medicine, used for its
anticoagulant activity; also as antiepileptic.
- Tarragon oil is extracted
from the leaves and flowering tops. Used as a fragrance in soaps and
- Essential oil used in aromatherapy for digestive and menstrual problems.
Polyphenolic compounds were isolated from A dracunculus which inhibited
PEPCK gene expression and gluconeogenesis in a hepatoma cell line. Results
suggest the isolated compounds maybe responsible for its glucose-lowering
activity. (1) Study evaluated the antidiabetic effect of Artemisia dracunculus against alloxan induced diabetes in Wistar rats. Results showed significant anti-diabetic activity. Glibenclamide was used as standard. (29)
• Anti-Platelet Adhesion and Aggregation:
Study of extracts of Artemisia dracunculus showed inhibition of
platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion and supports its traditional
use as an anticoagulant. (3)
• Benzodiazepines: Study showed binding activity in the extracts of Artemisia dracunculus
showed a binding affinity to the central human benzodiazepine receptor. (4)
Study isolated antifungal constituents, 5-phenyl-1,3-pentadiyne
and capillarinin - from the essential oil fraction of AD. It also isolated
methyleugenol, another antifungal constituent of the oil. (5)
• Toxicological Evaluation: Tarralin is an ethanolic extract of A dracunculus (Russian tarragon). No signs of toxicity were noted in an acute limit test in rats and in an oral subchronic 90-day toxicity study. Results suggest tarralin is safe and non-toxic with no observed adverse effects in rats up to 1000 mg/kg/day. (6)
• Anti-Thrombosis: Study showed inhibition of platelet adhesion; also,self-aggregation and protein secretion were affected by crude methanol extracts. Results provide the basis for traditional use in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and thrombosis. (7)
• Antimicrobial: Study showed the methanol extract of A dracunculus is more effective against tested organisms than chloroform or acetone extracts. There was inhibition of P aeruginosa, E coli, Shigella, L monocytogenes. (8)
• Anticonvulsant / Sedative: Study of the essential oil revealed the presence of trans-anethole, limonene, a-pinene, allo-ocimene, methyl eugenol, ß-pinene, a-terpinolene, bornyl acetate and bicylogermacrene. Results showed anticonvulsant and sedative effects probably related to the presence of monoterpenoids in the essential oil. (9)
• Anti-Platelet Adhesion / Cardiovascular Thrombosis: Platelet hyperactivity, resulting in platelet adhesion to the vessel wall, is one of the most important factors in thrombosis and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Study of the methanol extracts of three herb spices, including Artemisia dracunculus, showed inhibition of platelet adhesion. In addition to alteration of cell adhesive properties, cell aggregation and protein secretion were also affected in the treated platelets. Results provide a basis for the use of the herbs in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and thrombosis. (11)
• Tarralin / Safety Studies: Tarralin, an ethanolic extract of Artemisia dracunculus, a common medicinal and culinary herb, was shown to be safe and non-toxic in studies, with no-adverse effects in rat study at 1000 mg/kg/day.
• Hypoglycemic Effects / Screening / Tarragon on Insulin Action in Humans: Results are awaited on study of PMI-5011, investigated on its effects on improving carbohydrate metabolism by enhancement of molecular events of insulin action in skeletal muscle. (13)
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of leaf aqueous extract on fructose drinking water (FDW) in male rats. Results showed FDW causes pain response score to increase and cause proinflammatory cytokines in a rat model. The AD leaf aqueous extracts showed anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. (20)
• No Significant DPPIV Inhibition: Study evaluated if extracts of A. dracunculus can act as a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPPIV) inhibitor for the control of type 2 diabetes. Results sowed the extract could not significantly control DPPIV activity. (21)
• Antinociceptive / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the antinociceptive effect of essential oil of A. dracunculus in various experimental models. Results showed peripheral and central nociceptive activity (formalin and hot-plate test. (22)
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant / Natural Preservatives / Essential Oil: The essential oil showed antioxidant and antibacterial activities. The major aromatic compound was The compounds may have potential in the prevention of cancer and atherosclerosis, through the inhibition of lipid oxidation. Results suggest potential for use as natural preservative in food models to replace synthetic preservatives in foods. (see constituents above) (23)
• Anticoagulant / Leaves: Study evaluated the presence of coumarins in tarragon leaves and the extract with major amount of coumarin derivatives. Purified extracts and fractions from plant residue after essential oil distillation showed the best anticoagulant activity. The methanol extract at concentration of 5% showed best anticoagulant activity. (24)
• Antidiarrheal / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the effects of essential oil of A. dracunculus on rat alimentary tract. Results showed inhibition of castor oil-induced diarrhea at 75 and 100 mg/kg dose. The EOAD delated the onset of diarrhea. (25)
• Hemolytic Effect: Study evaluated the effect of three extracts (A. dracunculus, Cuminum cyminum, and Heracleum persicum) on biological membrane. A. dracunculus showed the highest hemolytic effect. (26)
• Increased Glucose Uptake in Human Skeletal Muscle Culture: Animal pilot studies have shown an effect to improve glucose levels. Study evaluated an alcoholic extract of AD to promote glucose disposal in a major insulin sensitive tissue, i.e., skeletal tissue. Results showed AD has potential to improve glucose disposal in insulin sensitive tissues and may selectively increase IRS-2 abundance. (27)
• Inhibition of PEPCK Gene Expression and Gluconeogenesis in Hepatoma Cell Line: Study evaluated an ethyl acetate extract of AD and its fractions for inhibitory activity of Dex-cAMP-induced PEPCK gene expression in an H4IIE rat hepatoma cell line. Study isolated two polyphenolic compounds that inhibited PEPCK mRNA levels were isolated and identified as 6-demethoxycapillarisin and 2',4'-dihydroxy-4- methoxydihydrochalcone with IC50 values of 43 and 61 µM, respectively. Results suggests the extract and compounds have a potential for use in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and related disorders. (28)
- Essential oil in the cybermarket.