Tarragon - Artemisia dracunculus:
This is a shrubby herb with thin leaves and a stem which grows woody after a couple of
years. It is a semi-hardy perennial that can reach a height of three feet. It will
flower during the middle or late summer.
This plant prefers sun to partial sun. It takes well to an herb garden.
The prime use of this herb is culinary rather than medicinal. It has a delicate
flavor which none the less is often used in vinegars. It is best put into food
close to the end of its cooking time; it is also tasty in salads.
Medicinal Uses in Folklore:
An infusion of this herb in boiling water is said to ease flatulence and minor
Scanning the Scientific Literature:
Tarragon has not been studied much scientifically. However, extracts of tarragon have
exhibit the ability to induce the enzyme quinone reductase, which is an important
enzyme in cancer prevention. The method of processing, of course, may adversely
affect tarragon's ability to perform this induction.
- Culpeper, N. Culpeper's Color Herbal.
- Tawfiq N. Wanigatunga S. Heaney RK. Musk SR. Williamson G. Fenwick GR
Induction of the anti-carcinogenic enzyme quinone reductase by food extracts using
murine hepatoma cells. European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 3(3):285-92,
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Last Updated: March 7, 1999.