Tarragon essential oil comes from the long and thin leaves of Artemisia dracunculus L. or tarragon herb. The perennial herb belongs to the Asteraceae plant family. [1]

It is also known as estragon, dragon sage-wort, little dragon, false tarragon, and dragon wormwood. Tarragon is native of North America, Western Asia, Europe, and Southern Russia.

Tarragon is a popular spice herb, used in various cuisines all over the world. The French regard it as the king of herbs. Tarragon has extensive uses in French recipes.

Tarragon has two major varieties- French and Russian.

Researchers suggest that French tarragon has more superior quality than the other variety. Tarragon oil is generally derived from French tarragon leaves and yellowish-green flower tops.

There are many references to the extensive therapeutic benefits of little dragon herb throughout history. Tarragon is an important ingredient in Indian Ayurveda, Chinese folk remedies, and traditional medicinal practice in ancient Greece.

Traditionally, tarragon is an effective home remedy for urinary infections, excessive menstrual flow, epilepsy, toothaches, digestive issues, ulcers, and appetite loss.

Modern clinical science has investigated the chemical constituents of tarragon essential oil to confirm its numerous therapeutic effects.

This article reviews the therapeutic compounds, health benefits and uses of tarragon essential oil.

Tarragon Oil- Chemical Compound and Therapeutic Value

Tarragon essential oil has a unique combination of chemical constituents. The major chemical compound of tarragon oil is estragole. This ether component provides the distinct spicy aroma and sweet flavor of the little dragon oil. [1]

Other esters components such as geranyl acetate and bornyl acetate also contribute to the flavor. These have potential antifungal effects.

Tarragon essential oil is rich in numerous monoterpenes. These cleansing components include (Z)-β-ocimene, Limonene, Alpha-pinene, Sabinene, and (E)-β-ocimene.

Researchers claim that this impressive chemical structure of tarragon oil is responsible for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant,  circulatory, emmenagogue, and antispasmodic effects. [2]

Research-Based Health Benefits of Tarragon Essential Oil

1. Tarragon Essential Oil Has Powerful Antibacterial Effects.

Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are two major microbial pathogens that cause numerous diseases in humans. [3]

aureus is responsible for MRSA, food poisoning, boils, cellulitis, impetigo, infections.

E.coli strains of bacteria can cause abdominal pain, fever, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.

A 2012 study in The Iranian Journal of Microbiology confirmed the efficacy of tarragon essential oil in inhibiting S. aureus and E.coli pathogenic strains. A high concentration of tarragon oil could significantly reduce the bacterial count of both the strains.

Tarragon oil may be an effective remedy for treating the symptoms of these bacterial infections.

2. Tarragon Oil May Relieve the Symptoms of Epilepsy and Seizures.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder. It causes seizures, temporary periods of confusion, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms.

In the Iranian folk medicinal practice, tarragon is used as an oral medicine for relieving the symptoms of epilepsy, especially seizures.

tarragon essential oil

Modern researchers have investigated the chemical constituents of tarragon essential oil. They have found out its antiepileptic and anticonvulsant effects that may help relieve the symptoms of epilepsy.

A 2004 clinical research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology confirmed the anti-seizure, anticonvulsant, and sedative effects of the tarragon oil.

The researchers suggested that the monoterpenoids in the essential oil may have potential therapeutic effects in treating epilepsy symptoms.

3. Tarragon Essential Oil May Prevent the Risk of Blood Clots.

Tarragon oil may be an effective remedy for atherosclerosis (plaque formation in the arteries) and arterial thrombosis (blood clot in the arteries).

Blood clots can happen if there’s a disruption in the flow of blood. Blood clots in the heart and blood vessels can have serious health complication — block in the circulation process leading to a heart attack.

A 2007 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the natural anticoagulant effect of tarragon leaves extracts.

The researchers found out that a concentration of tarragon leaves extracts can inhibit the adhesion of blood platelets. The methanol and chloroform contents of the herb have potential blood thinning or anticoagulant effect.

4. Tarragon Essential Oil May Treat Fungal Infections and Has potent Antioxidant Effects.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports of the potent antifungal activity of tarragon essential oil on numerous agricultural pathogenic fungi. The monoterpenes in the oil including limonene, (E)-beta-ocimene, etc. are responsible for this beneficial effect.

The same research study confirms the powerful antioxidant value of tarragon oil. The oil may inhibit the free radicals and oxidative damage to body cells.

5. Tarragon Essential Oil May Relieve Digestive Disorders.

In ancient Greece, tarragon was popular as a natural appetite stimulant.

tarragon essential oil

The therapeutic constituents in tarragon oil may stimulate the secretion of saliva in the mouth and contraction of digestive organs. The essential oil may also help to release the digestive juices and natural enzymes for better digestion. [7]

Tarragon Essential Oil Side Effects

Tarragon essential oil is generally safe for oral ingestion and topical application. But you should always consult a certified aromatherapist and a doctor regarding the dosage and safety.

The estragole compound in tarragon oil has been a matter of controversy recently. The compound showed cancer-causing effects in lab rats. However, humans have a limited chance of this health risk. To be on the safe side you may buy tarragon oil consisting lower level of estragole.

It is recommended that you avoid ingesting tarragon oil in case you are pregnant or a nursing mother.

Before using the oil topically dilute it with some carrier oil to avoid allergic sensitivity.

Bottom line

Tarragon essential oil is extracted from the leaves of therapeutic and flavorsome tarragon herb. The aromatic oil has impressive medicinal uses in folk remedies in different parts of the world.

The major monoterpenes, ether, and ester contents of tarragon oil have potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

Modern researchers claim the oil may be an effective remedy for bacterial infections, fungal diseases, epilepsy symptoms, and digestive disorders.

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