Tarragon or dragon’s-wort (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. Corresponding to its species name, a common term for the plant is “dragon herb.”
It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to India, western North America, and south to northern Mexico.
French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but is difficult to grow from seed. Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and is one of the main components of Béarnaise sauce.
Tarragon enhances fish, shellfish, pork, beef, lamb, game, poultry, pâtés, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, peas, parsley, chervil, garlic, chives, lemons, oranges, rice, and barley. Use it in flavoured vinegars, herbed mayonnaise, herbed butters, cream sauces, and soups, and with cheeses, eggs, sour cream, and yogurt.
Tarragon has been used to stimulate the appetite, relieve flatulence and colic, and cure rheumatism. A tea made with Tarragon and Chamomile has been used to induce sleep. Tarragon is also a mild diuretic. The herb was used in Ancient Greece to relieve toothache as a sort of local anaesthetic, which makes sense due to its containing eugenol, a natural anaesthetic.
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