Tarragon may not be as well known as heavy hitters garlic and ginger, but there's no reason you shouldn't add this subtle herb to your dieting repertoire.

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There's evidence that humans have been cultivating tarragon since around 500 BC. It is a member of the sunflower family, and some compare its distinct taste to that of licorice, lemon, and basil.

It also comes in three distinct varieties: Russian tarragon, which is the bitterest, French tarragon which tastes more licorice-like, and Mexican tarragon, which has a flavor somewhere between the two.

Fresh tarragon has only 5 calories and one gram of carbs per one tablespoon serving, but it contains seven percent of your daily recommended intake of the mineral manganese, which plays a critical role in brain health, growth, and metabolism.

This spoonful of tarragon will also offer you about 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron and 2 percent of your suggested potassium, along with small amounts of other minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and selenium.

On the vitamin side, you'll find four percent of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A, four percent of your Vitamin C, six percent of your Vitamin B6, and three percent of your folate.

Ground tarragon, on the other hand, has nearly three time as many calories at 14, and will probably contain less of all these beneficial nutrients than the fresh stuff.

herb

Yet the health benefits of tarragon don't stop there! One mouse study suggested that tarragon can work to increase insulin sensitivity. Similar results have been found in humans; taking tarragon before breakfast and dinner reduced the levels of insulin in patients with impaired glucose tolerance throughout the entire day!

Russian tarragon also seems to lead to lower blood glucose, and also showed potential as an aid to recovery after exercise. It may also increase muscular absorption of anabolic (muscle building) hormone creatine, which is a great dieting boon since increased muscle mass can improve your metabolism!

Tarragon intake also led to improvement on several cardiovascular measures, which may be due to its hypothesized ability to stop harmful compounds from adhering to the blood vessels, along with its antioxidant effects.

Another mouse study suggested that tarragon may be able to help regulate sleep patterns and have a mild sedative effect. However, tarragon may also stimulate appetite by reducing leptin levels, which could be beneficial in the case of someone experiencing reduced appetite due to illness, but could be something dieters should be on alert for!

Still, tarragon's pros seem to outnumber its cons. Thanks to taragon's high level of eugenol, chewing tarragon may have a numbing effect on the mouth, thus relieving toothaches. Tarragon's documented antibacterial activity means that it can combat the harmful oral bacteria that can cause these tootaches as well. This also means that it has potential as a natural preservative!

Tarragon has also been shown to fight the release of cytokines, so it can inhibit inflammation and reduce harmful activity in the immune system. One study even indicated that it can help improve pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis, and mouse studies suggest it may be useful in treating other types of pain as well.

Tarragon is also known to improve digestive symptoms, possibly because of its high content of carotenoids. For instance, a cocktail of tarragon, cardamom, and ginger oils has been found to reduce nausea following surgery.

Like other herbs, tarragon is also considered an emmenagogue, meaning it can help stimulate menstruation in women who suffer from gynecological irregularities, and is thought to promote health in the female reproductive system more generally.

You may want to check with your doctor before using tarragon if you are pregnant, have a bleeding disorder, have a ragweed allergy, or have any other serious health problems.

Tarragon will be most flavorful when added into a dish at the last minute, so feel free to adjust the following recipes accordingly if you desire. Our Chicken Tarragon and our Orange Tarragon Marinade are a great starting place if you'd like to start experimenting with this powerful herb!

Or, if you'd prefer a simple tarragon dressing, our Tarragon and Vinegar Infusion might be for you. You can also use it as an easy marinade for chicken, fish, or, well, whatever else you want!

Chicken Tarragon

chicken tarragon

Add some variety to your chicken repertoire with this tasty recipe! Estimated nutritional value of 142 calories, 3.3 g fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 3.1 g carbohydrates, .5 g fiber, 23.1 g protein, and 1.3g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams chicken breast
  • ¼ cup tarragon and garlic infusion
  • ¼ cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Dash of mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat the chicken broth, vinegar, garlic, and onion in a small saucepan or frying pan. Add chicken and sauté for about 10 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked and liquid is reduced. Deglaze the pan periodically witha little water to create a sauce. Serve hot.

Recipe provided by

Orange Tarragon Marinade for Chicken or Fish

orange tarragon marinade

Estimated nutritional value of 86 calories, 1.2g fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 6.3 g carbohydrates, .2 g fiber, 10.7 g protein, and 4g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
30 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 fruit)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ orange juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine liquid ingredients with spices and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Marinate chicken or fish for 20 minutes or more. Cook chicken or fish in remaining marinade. Deglaze the pan periodically with a little water. Save the sauce and add apple cider vinegar to make additional dressing for a salad. Serve over a mixed green salad or with other vegetables.

Recipe provided by

Tarragon Vinegar Infusion

tarragon vinegar infusion

This versatile recipe is any easy way to complexify your kitchen! Estimated nutritional value of 16 calories, .1g fat. 0 mg cholesterol, 1.1g carbohydrate, .1g fiber, .2g protein, and .2g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
n/A
Yield
Makes multiple servings

Ingredients

Directions
Combine vinegar with fresh tarragon in a lidded jar. Crush or roll the tarragon slightly to release the flavor. Allow flavors to infuse into the vinegar overnight or up to a week. Use as a marinade for fish or as the base for a dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe provided by

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