Local delivery and installation available in Auckland now!

French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

French Tarragon -  Herb

  • Plant cuttings or root division.
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 30-40 days. Pick leaves when young for best flavour.
  • Compatible with Aubergine (Eggplant) and Capsicum (Peppers)
  • French tarragon a half-hardy perennial herb that is native of southern Europe. It is frost tender - which may be one of the reasons that it is not particularly widely grown - French tarragon is easy to grow but rarely sets seeds. It is propagated by division, or from cuttings.
  • Seed grown tarragon is usually Russian tarragon, which does not have such a good flavour.
  • French tarragon must have a sunny position its site should be sheltered from winds and winter frosts. Keep well watered in dry weather. In autumn, mulch plants with a thick layer of straw or similar, to protect it over the winter. Tarragon prefers well-drained soil, which is not too high in nutrients. It will do equally well in full sun or partial shade

Tarragon is a delightful herb to grow, one that has long been used as a flavoring as well as a traditional curative. With an appealing flavor reminiscent of anise and licorice, it has several wonderful culinary applications. And it makes an attractive border plant thanks to the visual appeal of its upright growth, delicate leaves, and sweet licorice-like fragrance.From the sunflower family, true or French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is also known as estragon. This plant is a perennial with the distinctive characteristics of the Artemisia clan – fragrant when handled, with thin, lance-shaped leaves and a hint of silver in the light green foliage that makes them distinctive in garden beds.It requires only well-drained soil, a sunny spot, regular watering, and the occasional sip of a water-soluble fertilizer. However, it does sag in vitality in prolonged, extreme heat.

Nutritional and medicinal benefits

Tarragon is low in calories and carbs and contains nutrients that may be beneficial for your health.

Just one tablespoon (2 grams) of dried tarragon provides:

  • Calories: 5
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Manganese: 7% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Iron: 3% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 2% of the RDI

Manganese is an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain health, growth, metabolism and the reduction of oxidative stress in your body.Iron is key to cell function and blood production. An iron deficiency may lead to anemia and result in fatigue and weakness. Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for proper heart, muscle and nerve function. What’s more, research has found that it can lower blood pressure.Though the amounts of these nutrients in tarragon aren’t considerable, the herb may still benefit your overall health. Tarragon is low in calories and carbs and contains the nutrients manganese, iron and potassium, which may be beneficial for your health.

May Help Decrease Blood Sugar by Improving Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone that helps bring glucose to your cells so you can use it for energy.Factors like diet and inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, resulting in elevated glucose levels.Tarragon has been found to help improve insulin sensitivity and the way your body uses glucose.One seven-day study in animals with diabetes found that tarragon extract lowered blood glucose concentrations by 20%, compared to a placebo.Moreover, a 90-day, randomized, double-blind study looked at the effect of tarragon on insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and glycemic control in 24 people with impaired glucose tolerance.Those who received 1,000 mg of tarragon before breakfast and dinner experienced an ample decrease in total insulin secretion, which can help keep blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day.Tarragon may help decrease blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and the way your body metabolizes glucose.

May Improve Sleep and Regulate Sleep Patterns

Insufficient sleep has been linked to poor health outcomes and can increase your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.Changes in work schedules, high levels of stress or busy lifestyles may contribute to poor sleep quality.Sleeping pills or hypnotics are often used as sleep aids but may lead to complications, including depression or substance abuse.The Artemisia group of plants, which includes tarragon, has been used as a remedy for various health conditions, including poor sleep.In one study in mice, Artemisia plants appeared to provide a sedative effect and help regulate sleep patterns.However, due to the small size of this study, more research is needed on the use of tarragon for sleep — particularly in humans.

May Increase Appetite by Reducing Leptin Levels

Loss of appetite can occur for various reasons, such as age, depression or chemotherapy. If left untreated, it can lead to malnutrition and a decreased quality of life.An imbalance in the hormones ghrelin and leptin may also cause a decrease in appetite. These hormones are important for energy balance.

Ghrelin is considered a hunger hormone, while leptin is referred to as a satiety hormone. When ghrelin levels rise, it induces hunger. Conversely, rising leptin levels cause a feeling of fullness.One study in mice examined the role of tarragon extract in stimulating appetite. Results showed a decrease in insulin and leptin secretion and an increase in body weight.These findings suggest that tarragon extract may help increase feelings of hunger. However, results were only found in combination with a high-fat diet. Additional research in humans is needed to confirm these effects.Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that control appetite. Research has found that tarragon extract may improve appetite by reducing leptin levels in the body, though human-based research is lacking.

May Help Relieve Pain Associated With Conditions Like Osteoarthritis

In traditional folk medicine, tarragon has been used to treat pain for a long time.One 12-week study looked at the effectiveness of a dietary supplement called Arthrem — which contains a tarragon extract — and its effect on pain and stiffness in 42 people with osteoarthritis.Individuals who took 150 mg of Arthrem twice per day saw significant improvement in symptoms, compared to those taking 300 mg twice per day and the placebo group.Researchers suggested that the lower dose may have proven more effective as it was tolerated better than the higher dose.Other studies in mice also found Artemisia plants to be beneficial in the treatment of pain and proposed that it may be used as an alternative to traditional pain management.

May Have Antibacterial Properties and Prevent Foodborne Illness

There is an increasing demand for food companies to use natural additives rather than synthetic chemicals to help preserve food. Plant essential oils are one popular alternative.Additives are added to food to help add texture, prevent separation, preserve food and inhibit bacteria that cause foodborne illness, such as E. coli.One study looked at the effects of tarragon essential oil on Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli — two bacteria that cause foodborne illness. For this research, Iranian white cheese was treated with 15 and 1,500 µg/mL of tarragon essential oil.Results showed that all the samples treated with tarragon essential oil had an antibacterial impact on the two bacterial strains, compared to the placebo. Researchers concluded that tarragon may be an effective preservative in food, such as cheese

If you are going to use French Tarragon to treat an existing health condition please consult with your healthcare provider first.