Kitchen Remedies – Tarragon
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is mostly known for its use in Bearnaise sauce, vinegar and French cooking. Most modern herbalists don’t give it much credence as a healing herb.
Chewing Tarragon leaves will numb your mouth and is great for toothache. Tarragon has eugenol which is an antiseptic and is used in dental paste used for temporary fillings.
According to James A. Duke, PhD and an authority on herbal medicine, Tarragon has Caffeic acid which is a cancer fighting chemical. Tarragon may help cleanse the body of free radicals. This means that it is a cancer preventative.
Tarragon also may help your heart. The chemical Rutin found in the oil helps prevent plaque deposits in your arteries. Plaque buildup is a leading cause of heart disease and strokes.
To make tarragon tea, use 2 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups per day. Another way to use Tarragon is to make a Lemon Balm Tea with 1 teaspoon of Tarragon added, let steep for 15 minutes. When you make tea in this manner, you can put the tea bag directly on cold sores for healing.
One problem with Tarragon is that when you dry it, you lose most of the value, so it should be used fresh, frozen or preserved in vinegar.
Cooking with Tarragon adds flavor to eggs, chowders, soups, sauces, vegetables, fish and chicken for just a sample of its uses.
There are two varieties of Tarragon, Russian and French, you should go for the French. Divide roots in spring and plant 1 inch pieces of tips or use cuttings in the summer. You should thin plants to 2 foot spacing. Tarragon rarely flowers, but if it does the fruits are sterile.
Tarragon bruises easily, so harvest the leaves carefully in the summer. Use it fresh, freeze the leaves or preserve them in vinegar.