Tarragon which is known scientifically as Artemisia dracunculus is a perennial herb belonging to the same family as the sunflower. It grows wild in many parts of North America, Europe and Central Asia but is cultivated as a a popular culinary and medicinal herb in many other parts of the world. Other common names for the herb are estragon and dragon wort.
Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa, a sub-species of tarragon is widely cultivated for its leaves which are used primarily as an aromatic cooking herb. Other sub-species lack the familiar, strong aroma.
The various sub-species also go by less formal names. French tarragon is considered to be the best for cooking while Russian tarragon is regarded as superior to wild tarragon.
What is Tarragon Essential Oil Good For?
The essential oil of tarragon is derived from the plant’s leaves. It is typically colorless but may have a slight green tinge. The smell of tarragon oil is similar to fennel or anise. The oil which is among the most popular ayurvedic oils has an excellent range of therapeutic actions on the body and the mind that we will look at in some detail.
Both the herb itself and its delightful essential oil have been used for a very long time for therapeutic purposes.
As far back as the ancient Greeks, tarragon oil was valued as a remedy for painful toothaches. The traditional Chinese practitioners made use of the herb for its antibacterial , antiviral and antispasmodic abilities.
They believed that it could help treat a range of conditions including arthritis, epilepsy, sciatica, urinary tract infections and digestive issues. Tarragon oil has also been used traditionally to stimulate the appetite and I inhibit convulsions by ancient Persian practitioners.
There are also records in Ayurvedic texts referring to tarragon oil being used to treat insomnia, digestion, immune system disorders and hyperactivity.
Tarragon essential oil contains a wide variety of therapeutic properties thanks to its range of therapeutic chemical compounds. The major components of the oil are trans-anethole, limonene, pinene, methyl eugenol and methyl chavicol.
It has numerous medicinal uses owing to its antibacterial, anti-rheumatic, circulatory, stimulant, digestive, aperitif, vermifuge and emmenagogue properties.
What is Tarragon Oil Used for?
1) Digestive Benefits
Both the herb itself and the essential oil are known to help improve digestion and appetite. The essential oil can improve the efficiency of digestion by stimulating secretion of your gastric juices like bile and acid in the gut.
This helps your body break down the food and helps you to better absorb the nutrients. It also helps to stimulate the body’s peristaltic motion which improves the transport of food through your entire digestive system.
Tarragon essential oil also has aperitif properties helping to stimulate the appetite which may be useful if you need to gain weight following sickness or surgery.
2) Rheumatism and Arthritis
Tarragon essential oil has the ability to improve circulation as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied topically to the body to help treat painful joint conditions like rheumatism, arthritis and gout. Tarragon oil also has mild analgesic properties which can help ease your pain.
Not only does it help treat joint problems but it can be applied as part of a massage oil to help treat sore muscles and painful bones. Be sure to dilute your essential oil with a suitable vegetable based carrier oil before applying it to your skin.
Tarragon essential oil has vermifuge properties that make it lethal to various worms or parasites in the body. It is known to be effective against tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms and can even take care of maggots and larvae thriving on wounds.
However, great care must be taken when using tarragon oil. It should not be taken internally as it can prove highly toxic. Even external use requires care and the oil must be diluted adequately. Do not apply tarragon oil to open wounds.
If you are unfortunate enough to perspire easily or you live in a hot, humid country where sweating is inevitable, tarragon essential oil makes for a great natural deodorant. Its delightful, spicy fragrance can last for hours while its antibacterial properties help fend off the bacteria that contributes to greater body odor.
5) Menstrual problems
Tarragon essential oil has emmenagogue properties meaning that it can help naturally stimulate a woman’s period as well as regulating it better. As well as stimulating menstrual flow, tarragon essential oil can also help relieve many of the unwanted symptoms of menstruation including abdominal cramps, fatigue and possibly even mood issues.
6) Antibacterial Activity
According to research, tarragon essential oil has excellent antibacterial properties giving it plenty of potential to treat a number of infectious illnesses. A study published in 2012 found that the oil was effective against Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.
7) Household cleaning
Because of its powerful antibacterial abilities, tarragon essential oil can be used to keep the home clean and free of harmful bacteria. The oil makes for an excellent natural cleanser especially for the kitchen and bathroom where grim and dirt builds up so quickly.
Just add a few drops of tarragon essential oil to a spray bottle of water and wipe down your surfaces. As well as keeping your home microbe free, the oil can keep your home smelling great.
How to Use Tarragon Essential Oil
Tarragon oil can be used in a variety of ways which depend largely in the condition that you want to treat. Here are some popular suggestions.
- Combine your tarragon essential oil with a good quality carrier oil and use it to massage your aching joints and muscles. There are plenty of suitable carrier oils to combine it with and some of the most popular are coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba.
- Massaging the mixture into your body can help promote better blood circulation and treat conditions like arthritis or gout.
- Dab a little diluted tarragon oil onto your armpits and any other areas of your body that are prone to perspiration and body odor. This will help keep you feeling and smelling better for longer through the day.
- Make a gargle solution by adding 2 drops of tarragon oil to a glass of water to alleviate toothache and gum inflammation. Be careful not to swallow any of the mixture.
- Add a few drops of tarragon essential oil to your bathtub for an all over body treatment.
- Add a few drops to a warm compress to help treat muscle pain.
Tarragon essential oil is great on its own but it blends very well with numerous other essential oils. Some of the best oils for blending include lavender, Roman chamomile, clary sage, rosewood and peppermint.
Precautions for Tarragon Essential Oil
- The estragole or methyl chavicol present in tarragon oil makes it toxic to humans when taken internally. You should absolutely avoid consuming this essential oil.
- Methyl eugenol may cause damage to the liver and is potentially carcinogenic.
- Young children and pregnant women should avoid using tarragon essential oil.
- Do not apply your oil to open wounds because of the potential toxicity.
- You can safely apply tarragon essential oil topically to the skin but you must be sure to dilute it well with a carrier oil.
- After diluting your oil, you should do a patch test on a small, discrete area of skin to ensure you are not allergic to it.