It has a subtle flavor and pairs well with dishes like fish, beef, chicken, asparagus, eggs, and soups.
Tarragon, or artemisia dracunculus , is a perennial herb that comes from the sunflower family. It is widely used for flavorings, fragrances, and medicinal purposes.
Here are 8 surprising benefits and uses of tarragon
1. Contains beneficial nutrients but few calories and carbohydrates
Tarragon is low in calories and carbohydrates and contains nutrients that can be beneficial to your health.
Just one tablespoon (2 grams) of dried tarragon provides:
- Calories : 5.
- Carbohydrates: 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 reducing oxidative stress in your body.
Iron is key to cell function and blood production. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia and lead to fatigue and weakness.
Potassium is a mineral that is crucial for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function. Also, research has found that it can lower blood pressure.
Although the amounts of these nutrients in tarragon are not considerable, the herb can still benefit your overall health.
Tarragon is low in calories and carbohydrates and contains the nutrients manganese, iron, and potassium, which can be beneficial to your health.
2. May help lower blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that helps carry glucose into your cells so it can be used 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.
A seven-day study in animals with diabetes found that tarragon extract reduced blood glucose concentrations by 20%, compared to a placebo.
Additionally, a 90-day, double-blind, randomized 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 a broad decrease in total insulin secretion, which can help keep blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day.
Tarragon can help lower blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and the way your body metabolizes glucose.
3. It can improve sleep and regulate sleep patterns
Lack of sleep has been linked to poor health outcomes and can increase your risk for conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Changes in work schedules, high levels of stress, or busy lifestyles can contribute to poor sleep quality.
Sleeping pills or hypnotics are often used as sleep aids, but they can 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 a mouse study, 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.
Tarragon comes from the Artemisia group of plants, which may have a sedative effect and improve sleep quality, although this potential benefit has yet to be studied in humans.
4. May increase appetite by reducing leptin levels
The loss of appetite can occur for several 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 can also cause a decrease in appetite. These hormones are important for energy balance.
Ghrelin is considered a hunger hormone, while leptin is known as a satiety hormone. When ghrelin levels rise, it induces hunger. On the contrary, increased levels of leptin cause a feeling of fullness.
A study in mice examined the role of tarragon extract in stimulating appetite. The 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, the 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 can improve appetite by reducing leptin levels in the body, although research in humans is lacking.
5. May help relieve pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis
In traditional folk medicine, tarragon has been used to treat pain for a long time.
A 12-week study looked at the effectiveness of a dietary supplement called Arthrem, which contains tarragon extract, and its effect on pain and stiffness in 42 people with osteoarthritis .
People who took 150 mg of Arthrem twice a day experienced a significant improvement in symptoms, compared to those who took 300 mg twice a day and the placebo group.
The researchers suggested that the lower dose might have been more effective, as it was better tolerated than the higher dose.
Other studies in mice also found that Artemisia plants are beneficial in treating pain and proposed that it can be used as an alternative to traditional pain treatment.
Tarragon has long been used to treat pain in traditional folk medicine. Supplements containing tarragon may be beneficial in reducing pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis.
6. May have antibacterial properties and prevent foodborne illness
There is a growing demand for food companies to use natural additives rather than synthetic chemicals to help preserve food. Plant essential oils are a 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.
The results showed that all the samples treated with tarragon essential oil had an antibacterial effect on the two bacterial strains, compared to placebo. The researchers concluded that tarragon can be an effective preservative in foods, such as cheese.
Plant essential oils are an alternative to synthetic chemical food additives. Research has found that tarragon essential oil can inhibit Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, two bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
7. It is versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet
Since tarragon has a subtle flavor, it can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some simple ways to incorporate tarragon into your diet:
- Add it to scrambled or fried eggs.
- Use it as a garnish on rotisserie chicken.
- Toss into sauces, like pesto or aioli.
- Add it to fish, such as salmon or tuna.
- Toss it with olive oil and drizzle the mixture over roasted vegetables.
Tarragon comes in three different varieties: French, Russian, and Spanish:
- French tarragon is the best known and best for culinary purposes.
- Russian tarragon has a weaker flavor compared to French tarragon. It loses its flavor quickly with age, so it is best to use it immediately. It produces more leaves, which make a great addition to salads.
- Spanish tarragon has more flavor than Russian tarragon, but less than French tarragon. It can be used medicinally and brewed as a tea.
Fresh tarragon is generally only available in spring and summer in cooler climates. It is not as available as other herbs, such as coriander, so you can only find it in chain grocery stores or farmers markets.
Tarragon comes in three different varieties: French, Russian, and Spanish. It is a versatile herb that can be used in many ways, including in eggs, chicken, fish, vegetables, and in sauces.
8. Other potential health benefits
Tarragon has been claimed to provide other health benefits that have yet to be thoroughly researched.
May be beneficial for heart health – Tarragon is often used in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. The health benefits of this diet are not only related to the food but also to the herbs and spices that are used.
May decrease inflammation: Cytokines are proteins that can play a role in inflammation. A study in mice found a significant decrease in cytokines after consuming tarragon extract for 21 days.
Tarragon may be beneficial for heart health and decrease inflammation, although these benefits have not been thoroughly investigated.
How to store it
Fresh tarragon keeps best in the refrigerator. Simply rinse the stem and leaves in cold water, wrap loosely in a damp paper towel, and store in a plastic bag. This method helps the grass retain moisture.
Fresh tarragon will usually last in the refrigerator for four to five days. Once the leaves start to turn brown, it’s time to discard the grass.
Dried tarragon can last in an airtight container in a cool, dark environment for up to four to six months.
Fresh tarragon can be stored in the fridge for four to five days, while dried tarragon can be kept in a cool, dark place for up to four to six months.
The bottom line
Tarragon has many impressive health benefits, including the ability to lower blood sugar, inflammation, and pain, while improving sleep, appetite, and heart health.
Not to mention, it’s versatile and can be added to a variety of foods, whether you use fresh or dried varieties.
You can easily have the many benefits that tarragon provides by adding it to your diet.