Tarragon, is a species of perennial herb in the family Asteraceae. The species is polymorphic. Informal names for distinguishing the variations include "French tarragon", "Russian tarragon",
and "wild tarragon"
The name "tarragon" is believed to have been borrowed from the Persian name
Russian tarragon can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavor when compared to the French variety.
It is not as strongly aromatic and flavorsome as its French cousin
, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food. Russian tarragon loses what flavor it has as it ages and is widely considered useless as a culinary herb, though it is sometimes used in crafts. The young stems in early spring can be cooked as an asparagus substitute.
Horticulturists recommend that Russian tarragon be grown indoors from seed and planted out in the summer. The spreading plants can be divided easily.A better substitute for French tarragon is Spanish tarragon, also known as Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, Texas tarragon, or Winter tarragon. The flavor is stronger than Russian tarragon and does not diminish significantly with age. Though it is a member of the marigold family, the flavor is much more reminiscent of French tarragon, with a hint of anise.
Health Benefits of Tarragon:
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 as a traditional remedy to stimulate appetite and alleviate anorexic symptoms.
Scientific studies suggest that poly-phenolic compounds in this herb help lower blood-glucose levels.
Fresh tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources among the common herbs. Its total measured ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value is 15,542 trolex equivalents (TE) per 100 g.
Laboratory studies on tarragon extract shows certain compounds in them inhibit platelet activation, preventing platelet aggregation and adhesion to the blood vessel wall. It thus helps prevent clot formation inside tiny 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 antioxidant as well as co-factors in metabolism.
Tarragon is a notably excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration (co-factors for cytochrome-oxidase enzyme) and blood cell production.
Tarragon herb has been used in various 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 may help cure insomnia.
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