Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is one of around 500 varieties of Artemisia, a large family of flowering plants. It is native to Asia and Europe but it also grows in North America. The plant grows in a shrub-like, upright position with bright yellow flowers and narrow leaves. The compounds in it act as herbal bitter that stimulates the digestive system to process food well. As an essential aromatic oil, tarragon has gained more attention than just being the plant that it is.
Tarragon Essential Oil is derived from the leaves of the plant. It is slightly green in color and anise or fennel-like in smell. Traditionally, the plant was used by the Greeks to treat toothache. It contains eugenol, which is also present in clove essential oil as natural anesthetic. The oil is known for its soothing and uplifting effect and promotes overall health.
Tarragon plant is called King of Herbs by the French because it is also widely used in different sauces, dressings and meat dishes. It has been used traditionally to relieve aches and aid digestion until it was mixed with salad leaves in 1548. Now, it is a popular cooking ingredient in many parts of the world. It blends well with lavender, rosewood, carrot seed and lime.
In a 2011 study, it was shown that tarragon has better antioxidant effects than German chamomile. This was supported by a study in 2012. It was proven to have antibacterial properties in 2007 and 2012 studies when it was tested to fight two pathogens.
Tarragon Essential Oil Benefits
The following are the benefits of Tarragon Essential Oil:
- It can suppress pain and fight bacteria such as E. coli and S. aureus.
- It can treat malignant illnesses such as tumors and cancers.
- It can fight arthritis and rheumatism.
- It can increase appetite.
- It improves blood circulation.
- It speeds up digestion.
- It can fight body odor.
- It eases menstruation.
- It stimulates different systems of the body.
- It kills worms in the body.
- It has practical uses such as cleaning the house.
Tarragon Essential Oil Uses
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Antibacterial. The essential oil contains eugenol derived from fresh leaves. It has antibacterial and pain relieving properties that’s why the plant has been traditionally used to treat toothache. A research also showed the antibacterial effects of the oil on pathogen bacteria. It can also be used to act as natural preservative in foods such as cheese.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Antioxidant and Anticancer. A study supported the claim that the essential oil has significant effects in treating cancers and tutors because of its antioxidant properties. It fights free radicals that can cause cataract and some forms of cancer. It is also a good source of important minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese and copper.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Anti-rheumatic. The oil can facilitate circulation and act as detoxifier, removing toxins from the body. It keeps uric acid from accumulating in one place.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Aperitif. It stimulates secretion of digestive juices and helps empty the stomachs, increasing appetite.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Aid in Blood Circulation. The essential oil improves lymph and blood circulation and helps properly distribute oxygen, nutrients, enzymes and hormones.
- Tarragon Essential Oil for Digestive Health. It can speed up digestion by stimulating gastric juices into the stomach, breaking down food into nutrients and strengthens peristaltic motion
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Deodorant. The oil has spicy scent that is used to keep odor away. It also stops the growth of microbes that reduce bad smell.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Emmenagogue. The oil can take away the discomfort brought by menstruation and also help regulate menstrual period.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Stimulant. It stimulates the nervous, circulatory, digestive and endocrine systems. It stimulates the entire metabolic system and enhances growth and immunity.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Vermifuge. It can kill tapeworms and roundworms found in the intestines. It also kills hookworms and maggots because of its toxicity.
- Tarragon Essential Oil as Household Cleaning Agent. The powerful antibacterial properties of Tarragon Essential Oil allow it to kill harmful bacteria. That is why it is also used to clean surfaces at home.
Tarragon Essential Oil Side Effects
- Estragole can cause cancer. Also known as methyl eugenol, estragole is found in this essential oil. Long-term administration of this compound can have harmful effects.
- It can slow down blood clotting. It might slow down blood clotting and increase bleeding when taken, so wounded people should take it with caution, or those who are about to undergo surgery.
- It may cause allergic reaction to people sensitive with ragweed and similar plants. If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, daisy, marigold and related plants (Compositae family) you should check with your doctor first if the oil is safe to use.
How to Use Tarragon Essential Oil
- You can massage 3 to 4 drops of Tarragon Essential Oil with mild carrier oil such as coconut oil to reap its benefits. It can provide warmth and improve your blood circulation
- Use it as warm compress by adding a few drops to your bath tub and you can ease away the discomfort brought by rheumatism or inflammation.
- To relieve toothache the natural way, add a few drops to a cup of lukewarm water and use it as gargle. You can mix it with lavender oil and gently massage to your belly area if you have stomach ache.
- Apply it on your skin with ratio of 50:50, meaning equal part of Tarragon Essential Oil and carrier oil. You can apply it on your temples and abdomen to relieve aches.
- Diffuse the oil or directly inhale it to reap its health benefits.
How to Make Tarragon Essential Oil
The essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the leaves and flowering tops. The parts of the plant found over the ground are used for medicinal purposes. It consists of 70% phenol, cymene, phellandrene, linalyl acetate and aldehyde.
Tarragon Essential Oil Recipe
To prepare Tarragon Essential Oil, you can start by growing them in your own home. Start by planting them indoors in a small pot. Use fertile, well-draining soil with 6.5 to 7.5 pH level. Plant 4 to 6 seeds in April or before frost. Place it in a lowlight area at room temperature. Water it regularly using just enough water. Allow the soil to dry before watering again. After about 2 weeks, the seeds should start to grow and then it’s time to transfer it to another pot and place outdoor for full sunlight.
To have your own Tarragon Essential Oil, you can infuse ¼ cup of leaves to 1 cup of carrier oil in a clean mason jar. Cover with lid then cover again with plastic wrap secured by a rubber band. Place in warm window for 12 hours.
If you want pure essential oil, try steam distillation. However, you need a still. Heat water and let the leaves rest on a tray in the bottom of the pan. Steam passes through the leaves as water heats. Out of this, an essential oil will come into a tube and condenses into a second container.
Where to Buy Tarragon Essential Oil
Tarragon Essential Oil is available at most health stores but you can easily purchase it online from various manufacturers and online retailers. Top brands include Edens Garden, Plant Guru and Plant Life, to name a few.
More Information on Tarragon Essential Oil
- Tarragon Essential Oil is not recommended for children and pregnant women for safety reasons since it contains estragole.
- In controlled doses, you can reap its benefits without any problem. However, it’s still best to consult your doctor prior to use.
- When allowed to use, perform patch test on your arm to see if there are any reactions. Place a few drops on your skin. If there are adverse effects, refrain from using it.
- The oil is safe for use in dogs, but ask your doctor about it if you plant to use it on your cat just to be sure.
- Tarragon Essential Oil is generally regarded safe, but be sure to use only therapeutic grade oils.
- Suitable carrier oils to use tarragon oil with include coconut oil, jojoba and olive oil.
- Avoid using it directly on open wounds for it can be toxic.
- Always dilute it with carrier oil before applying topically.