What is Tarragon?
Tarragon herb, also known as Artemisia dracunculus is an aromatic herb containing a lot of beneficial nutrients. The leaves are slightly floppy, tapering, and narrow, growing from a slender stem. It is mostly used in French cuisine. Russian and French tarragons are the most famous ones. Russian tarragon is coarser than French tarragon. It is mostly cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes mostly across North America and Eurasia. The herb can easily be grown in the backyard, thus making it easily available for use.
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:
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 (3, 4, 5).
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.
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 (10). 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.
3. 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 .
4. 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.
5. 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.