Tarragon scientifically called Artemisia dracunculus is a perennial herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. The herb is thought to be originated in Central Asia, probably in Siberia. It has long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. There are several types of tarragon which includes French and Russian. We generally prefer to use French tarragon for its delicate, balanced flavour. Russian tarragon can be harsh-tasting and is significantly less aromatic.
Tarragon is widely used as an herb in cooking but also has a medicinal history of use; it has been used as a digestive aid, a mild sedative, and as a heart disease prevention aid. Tarragon can also be substituted for salt for people with high blood pressure. Since the leaves are so tender, they can be mixed in with other greens for salads or sprinkled over a finished dish much like parsley and it pairs well with fish, omelettes, and chicken.
Tarragon has been used as a traditional remedy to stimulate the appetite and alleviate anorexic symptoms, dyspepsia, flatulence and hiccups. It is a rich source of vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A as well as B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc, it is also acts as a natural diuretic, laxative and antispasmodic.
Tarragon is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics in manufacturing. It is used to treat water retention, to start menstruation; and to promote sleep and its root can be used for toothache. Fresh cut tarragon should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge. It will last for around 4-5 days. Dried tarragon should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and should last for 4-6 months.