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Tarragon herb nutrition facts

Tarragon herb or dragon wort is a very popular culinary herb used as flavoring agent especially in the Mediterranean cuisines. This aromatic perennial growing plant is rich in phytonutrients as well antioxidants that help promote health and prevent diseases.

Botanically, tarragon belongs to the family of Asteraceae of the genus Artemisia and known scientifically as Artemisia dracunculus. The herb is thought to be originated in Central Asia, probably in Siberia.

Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides) is a more robust closely related species which is, however, quite inferior in flavor and hence less preferred in cooking.

This herb is small shrub featuring slim woody branching stems that reach up to a meter in height. Grows well in rich sandy soil with adequate sunlight. Its leaves are smooth, dark green with pointed ends.

Health benefits of Tarragon herb

  • This exquisite herb is rich in numerous health benefiting phyto-nutrients that are indispensable for optimum health.

  • The main essential oils in tarragon are estragole (methyl chavicol), cineol, ocimene and phellandrene.

  • Tarragon has been used in traditional medicines for stimulating the appetite and as a remedy for anorexia symptoms.

  • Scientific studies suggest that poly-phenolic compounds in this herb help lower blood glucose levels.

  • Laboratory studies on tarragon extract shows certain compounds in them inhibit platelet activation, preventing platelet aggregation and adhesion to blood vessel wall.  Thus helps prevent clot formation inside narrow blood vessels of heart and brain protecting from heart attack and stroke.

  • The herb is very rich source of vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A as well as B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, etc that function as anti-oxidant as well as co-factors in metabolism.

  • Tarragon is notably excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium and zinc.

Medicinal uses of tarragon

  • Tarragon herb has been used in traditional medicines for stimulating the appetite and as a remedy for anorexia, dyspepsia, flatulence and hiccups.

  • The essential oil, eugenol in the herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for toothache complaints.

  • Tarragon tea is used to cure insomnia.

ee the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Tarragon herb (Artemisia dracunculus), dried,
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 295 Kcal 15%
Carbohydrates 50.22 g 38%
Protein 22.77 g 40%
Total Fat 7.24 g 24%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g 19%

Folates 274 mcg 68.5%
Niacin 8.950 mg 56%
Pyridoxine 2.410 mg 185%
Riboflavin 1.339 mg 103%
Thiamin 0.251 mg 21%
Vitamin A 4200 IU 140%
Vitamin C 50.0 mg 83%

Sodium 62 mg 4%
Potassium 3020 mg 64%

Calcium 1139 mg 114%
Copper 0.677 mg 75%
Iron 32.30mg 403%
Magnesium 347 mg 87%
Manganese 7.967 mg 346%
Zinc 3.90 mg 35%

Selection and storage

Tarragon leaves are available fresh during late spring and summer season. Growing tips gathered for fresh use. Oftentimes, the herb is grown in the backyard and fresh leaves are readily available for cooking. Leaves may be harvested at flowering time for drying slowly in gentle heat. Dried tarragon can be available in the herb stores year around.

Try to by buy fresh leaves whenever possible for better flavor and nutritional benefits. Look for the herb that is rich in fragrance. Avoid those with shriveled, discolored old stocks.

Once at home, wash the leaves in clean running water, pat dry with absorbent paper and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for use in near future.  Dried tarragon should be placed inside airtight container and stored in cool dark place where it will stay for up to six months.

Preparation and serving methods

Fresh tarragon herb should be washed before use in cooking. In general the herb is added in small amounts to recipes at the last moment in order to retain flavor and taste.

Culinary uses

Generally the herb is added at the last moment to recipes in small amounts in order to retain flavor and taste.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Fresh tarragon is used in green salad.

  • Its leaves used as flavoring base to fish, lamb and poultry.

  • Tarragon herb is one of the main ingredients in French béarnaise sauce, a hot emulsified butter sauce made of clarified butter, egg yolks, shallot, chervil, peppercorn and tarragon vinegar.

  • Also used as flavoring base in traditional Christmas breads called potica.

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