Tarragon Adds a French Twist to Your Meals

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Posted on: September 27, 2015

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Tarragon (pronounced TEHR-uh-gon) or Artemisia dracunculus is an herb that is popular in the world of cooking. In fact, tarragon is such a vital part of French cuisine that it is one of the "Fines Herbes." These are the four most commonly used herbs in French cuisine, which also includes parsley, chervil and chives.1 Tarragon is known for its slightly bittersweet flavor, with an aroma similar to anise.2

The earliest records of tarragon date back to more than 600 years ago. It was believed to have been introduced to Italy in the 10th century during the time of the Mongol invasions. The Mongolians used tarragon as a sleep aid, breath freshener and seasoning.

After this turbulent period, some tarragon histories have St. Catherine of Siena bringing tarragon back to France after a visit with Pope Clement VI.3 However, she could not have done this as she was only 5 years old when Clement VI4 died. While other histories have tarragon arriving in France in the 1500s, if St. Catherine was the one who brought it to France, most likely it was after her visit to see Pope Gregory VI in 1376.5

The Different Health Benefits of Tarragon

Tarragon contains various nutrients and essential oils that can provide a multitude of benefits. The most well-known ones include:

Pain Relief

Chewing the leaves can help relieve pain, especially in the mouth or tooth. You can consume tarragon tea to get the same benefit.

Induce Sleep

Drinking tarragon tea can help those with insomnia. The calming effect of the herb's compounds can help you rest well at night.

Increase Appetite

If you're having trouble getting your appetite up, try consuming tarragon. It's been reported to have stimulating properties for your stomach.

Promote Reproductive Health in Females

Tarragon can help maintain a healthy female reproductive tract, and may also help women deal with suppressed menstruation.

Improve Intestinal Function

Tarragon is a vermifuge, meaning it can help expel parasitic worms from the intestines. As a result, this lowers your risk of developing intestinal ailments and malabsorption.

Cardiovascular Health

Your heart and arteries can benefit from tarragon greatly, because it acts as an inhibitor of platelet aggregation. As a result, the risk of developing a heart attack or a stroke is potentially lower.

The Different Uses of Tarragon

Tarragon is versatile and can be used in various types of dishes, such as:6

Potatoes: Spice up a potato salad by sprinkling tarragon over it.

Eggs: Add new layers of flavor to classic egg dishes such as deviled eggs.

Seafood: Bring out a wonderful aroma to various fish such as salmon and tuna using tarragon. You can also sprinkle it on clams and scallops.

Poultry: Give your roasted chicken a flavor boost by covering it with tarragon before cooking.

Sauces: Tarragon can make your sauces taste better. You can add it to sour cream, lemon sauce, pesto and other sauces.

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