Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Armoise Âcre, Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia glauca, Dragonne, Estragon, Estragón, Herbe Dragon, Herbe au Dragon, Little Dragon, Mugwort, Petit Dragon.


Tarragon is an herb. Some people call it “mugwort.” Be careful not to confuse tarragon with mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

The parts of the tarragon plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Tarragon is used to treat digestion problems, poor appetite, water retention, and toothache; to start menstruation; and to promote sleep.

In foods and beverages, tarragon is used as a culinary herb.

In manufacturing, tarragon is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

How does it work?

Tarragon is a good source of potassium. It also contains ingredients that seem to be able to fight certain bacteria.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Nausea and vomiting that can occur after surgery. Early research suggests that applying a mixture of ginger, cardamom, and tarragon essential oils to the neck after anesthesia and surgery may help relieve nausea and prevent vomiting for up to 30 minutes in some people. However, the effect seems to vary depending on the number of vomit-causing drugs that were given during anesthesia or as pain relievers during and/or after surgery.
  • Digestion problems.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Toothaches.
  • Water retention.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tarragon for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Tarragon is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine, short-term. Long-term use of tarragon as a medicine is LIKELY UNSAFE. Tarragon contains a chemical called estragole, which might cause cancer.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding to take tarragon by mouth as a medicine. It might start your period and endanger the pregnancy.

Bleeding disorder: Tarragon might slow blood clotting. There is concern that tarragon might increase the risk of bleeding when taken as a medicine.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Tarragon may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking tarragon.

Surgery: Tarragon might slow blood clotting. There is concern that tarragon might prolong bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking tarragon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Tarragon extract might slow blood clotting. Taking tarragon extract along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Tarragon essential oil might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Using tarragon essential oil along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Taking tarragon essential oil along with sedative medications used in surgery might cause prolonged sedation.

Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), thiopental (Pentothal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, propofol (Diprivan), and others.


The appropriate dose of tarragon depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tarragon. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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