Tarragon, or Artemisia dracunculus L., is a perennial herb that comes from the sunflower family. It’s widely used for flavoring, fragrance and medicinal purposes (1).
It has a subtle taste and pairs well with dishes like fish, beef, chicken, asparagus, eggs and soups.
Here are 8 surprising benefits and uses of tarragon.
1. Contains Beneficial Nutrients but Few Calories and Carbs
Tarragon is low in calories and carbs and contains nutrients that may be beneficial for your health.
Just one tablespoon (2 grams) of dried tarragon provides (2):
Carbs: 1 gram
Manganese: 7% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Iron: 3% of the RDI
Potassium: 2% of the RDI
Manganese is an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain health, growth, metabolism and the reduction of oxidative stress in your body (3, 4, 5).
Iron is key to cell function and blood production. An iron deficiency may lead to anemia and result in fatigue and weakness (6, 7).
Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for proper heart, muscle and nerve function. What’s more, research has found that it can lower blood pressure (8).
Though the amounts of these nutrients in tarragon aren’t considerable, the herb may still benefit your overall health.
Tarragon is low in calories and carbs and contains the nutrients manganese, iron and potassium, which may be beneficial for your health.
2. May Help Decrease Blood Sugar by Improving Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that helps bring glucose to your cells so you can use it for energy.
Factors like diet and inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, resulting in elevated glucose levels (9).
Tarragon has been found to help improve insulin sensitivity and the way your body uses glucose.
One seven-day study in animals with diabetes found that tarragon extract lowered blood glucose concentrations by 20%, compared to a placebo (10).
Moreover, a 90-day, randomized, double-blind study looked at the effect of tarragon on insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and glycemic control in 24 people with impaired glucose tolerance.
Those who received 1,000 mg of tarragon before breakfast and dinner experienced an ample decrease in total insulin secretion, which can help keep blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day (11).
Tarragon may help decrease blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and the way your body metabolizes glucose.
3. May Improve Sleep and Regulate Sleep Patterns
Insufficient sleep has been linked to poor health outcomes and can increase your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Changes in work schedules, high levels of stress or busy lifestyles may contribute to poor sleep quality (12, 13).
Sleeping pills or hypnotics are often used as sleep aids but may lead to complications, including depression or substance abuse (14, 15).
The Artemisia group of plants, which includes tarragon, has been used as a remedy for various health conditions, including poor sleep.
In one study in mice, Artemisia plants appeared to provide a sedative effect and help regulate sleep patterns (16).
However, due to the small size of this study, more research is needed on the use of tarragon for sleep — particularly in humans.