Tarragon, also called tarragon or, scientifically, Artemisia dracunculus, is a plant of the Asteraceae family whose Siberian origin; currently, it is widely cultivated in Russia but is also present in Italian crops. Its presence in Italy is linked to a legend that tells the origin of cultivation. According to this legend, a girl from the city of Siena, during the Napoleonic domination, fell in love with a soldier on horseback, a figure at the time called the dragon; by chance, the man dropped seeds in a vase from which sprouted a plant that was named tarragon by the young woman in memory of her love for the soldier who had now returned home. The name by which the plant is normally called derives from the shape of its roots that resembles that of a dragon's tail. According to a different version of the origin of the name, the plant is called tarragon because it is able to heal from the bites of poisonous snakes, so much so that it is known at the popular level with the term "snake herb". There are two different species of this plant, a Siberian and a French one. The Siberian tarragon has a sturdier stem and a little decided taste; the French one, on the contrary, has more delicate leaves and a very aromatic taste. It is a herb that does not grow spontaneously and is considered an aromatic herb. Its taste is rather bitter and is widely used in the kitchen. The plant has a stem made of several bushes, whose height is on average one meter, enriched by small flowers with a yellowish or green color. The fruits of the plant, on the other hand, are very dark but equally small; in fact, their size is about a couple of millimeters. The color of the leaves is bright, similar to emerald green and their shape is very thin and elongated. The collection of both flowers and leaves normally takes place in the hottest months of the year. Tarragon is widely used in the kitchen, being a spice that can give a strong flavor to any dish. The kitchen, however, does not hold the exclusive use of tarragon, which due to its beneficial properties is also used in the homeopathic pharmaceutical field.
The beneficial properties of tarragon
The first thing to know about tarragon is that it can help greatly in the event of digestion problems. The plant, in fact, promotes the regularity of digestion and helps to resolve problems of swelling. Specifically, tarragon acts in the digestion of foods rich in proteins and fats. At the same time, taking tarragon helps protect the health of the liver and stimulate its normal activity. The herb in question is extremely useful even in cases of lack of appetite, helping to bring back the appetite, and of dyspepsia. Furthermore, those who have high blood pressure problems and cannot eat salt can very well use tarragon to adjust the flavor of food without taking health risks. Furthermore, it acts in the diuretic process, stimulating the elimination of excess liquids. Precisely for this reason, tarragon is considered useful also in the case of the fight against cellulite and skin blemishes related to the famous orange peel effect. Another benefit of tarragon is that it affects sore throats and inflammatory conditions in the oral cavity: chewing its leaves relieves burning in the throat and is a good way to reduce a bad and painful toothache. These effects, already known in ancient Greece, make the tarragon a real natural antiseptic.
How to take advantage of the benefits of tarragon
The best way to benefit from the positive properties of tarragon is to buy dried leaves in herbal medicine and use them to prepare infusions. Boiling a tablespoon of leaves in a quantity of water equal to one cup, you get an excellent infusion for digestion problems: drinking it after dinner, instead of coffee, will ensure a peaceful sleep. If drunk before dinner, instead, it will be an aperitif that will stimulate the appetite and increase the feeling of hunger. Another solution may be to chew the leaves or branches of the plant directly: this method is particularly indicated for the treatment of tooth pain and to combat an annoying hiccup. In addition, chewing the tarragon leaves makes the taste buds less sensitive: a great way to take medicines with unpleasant taste.
Tarragon: Other uses of tarragon: a spice loved in the kitchen
As previously mentioned, the tarragon is also a spice widely used in cooking thanks to its marked flavor that is able to give an extra touch to each recipe, enhancing the taste. In France, for example, tarragon is often added to mayonnaise to create a sauce with a more decisive taste. A good way to use tarragon in the kitchen is to add it to roasts, to flavor meat, salads and baked or baked fish. Another example of the use of tarragon in the kitchen is the preparation of a liqueur: about 50 grams of fresh tarragon leaves left to macerate for at least two months in a liter and a half of brandy, with subsequent addition of sugar and water, will bring to create a mouth-watering liqueur. If you do not want to use tarragon in your recipes, you can always use the plant to perfume the rooms: by immersing a branch in the vinegar, in fact, you will get an excellent deodorant for the home.