Tarragon essential oil is not a very popular oil to use in therapy, and I really don’t know why! The aroma is spicy, sweet and little bit of aniseed and not a million miles away from Basil, so it is quite pleasant to use in a blend – an oh my goodness, the benefits are amazing!
In the Middle Ages, tarragon tea was given to patients during the plague to purify and disinfect them from the inside out. It was also used to treat bites and stings from wild animals. Armenians used the herb to treat ulcers, while Europeans used it to stimulate appetite and improve digestion. In addition, the Chinese used tarragon as a traditional medicine for a range of problems due to its antiviral and antispasmodic properties, the ancient Greeks used tarragon to treat toothaches and Prehistoric Iranian healers used it to increase appetite levels and as an anticonvulsant. The name is thought to derive from an ancient use as an antidote to the bites of venomous creatures and rabid dogs - the word dracunculus actually means “Little Dragon” and tarragon literally means that.
Tarragon was favoured by the maharajahs of India who took it as a tisane, and in Persia it was used to induce appetite. Today, the leaf is commonly used as a domestic herb, especially with chicken or fish, and to make tarragon vinegar.
So, as you can see, the beneficial uses of Tarragon essential oil extend to prehistoric and ancient times, and for conditions that it can still be applied to today.
Tarragon is a perennial herb, with smooth, narrow leaves and an erect stem. It grows to around 1.2 metres tall and has small, yellow flowers. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the plant to give this wonderful, pale yellow, healing oil.
The Latin name for Tarragon is Artemisia dracunculus, and it can also be known as Little Dragon, Russian Dragon or Estragon oil. Tarragon is native to Europe, Southern Russia, and western Asia, and is now cultivated worldwide, especially in Europe and the USA. The oil is mainly produced in France, Holland, Hungry and the USA. Tarragon essential oil has a lovely, distinctive sweet-anisic, spicy-green scent.
Tarragon essential oil has a unique chemical structure that gives antibacterial, antimicrobial, emmenagogue, circulatory, antifungal, antispasmodic, and antioxidant properties.
Chemically. the oil is primarily composed of an ether called estragole which gives the oil its signature spicy-sweet scent and distinct flavour. While estragole has faced some controversy, it has generally been proven safe for human use, although its use is limited by the International Fragrance Regulatory Association, so we do need to use specific amounts if we are manufacturing cosmetics or wellness products for mass market. However, for aromatherapy use, this is one wonderful little oil!
Additionally, a variety of monoterpenes can be found in Tarragon essential oil. These provide cleansing and healing properties and include capillene, ocimene, nerol, phellandrene, thujone and cineol. Here are some of the benefits of Tarragon Essential Oil:
Both the ingested herb and the topically applied essential oil can help the body digest food more efficiently. Tarragon essential oil is known to increase human salivary production in the mouth, helps to promote peristaltic motion to help food pass through the body, and can also stimulate the production of acid in the stomach.
This can help the body to break down and absorb the nutrients in food more readily and can prevent indigestion. Tarragon essential oil can also increase the appetite so it can be used before or after a big meal but using a lotion blend described in the recipe section. Tarragon essential oil should always be diluted to avoid any skin irritation, and because it is not necessary to use it undiluted.
Tarragon essential oil can be effective and beneficial for easing everyday aches and pains. It is also very useful for helping the heat and stinging sensations caused by arthritis, stiff joints, tendonitis, or tired muscles. As Tarragon essential oil is a strong anti-inflammatory, it can help to reduce swelling in affected areas to provide relief that will last for quite some time, especially if applied in a compress. Tarragon essential oil also promotes good circulation, so it can help sore muscles to recover more quickly.
Tarragon essential oil has been used since ancient times to treat toothaches. In those days, people would chew on the leaves to release the natural anaesthetic that would numb the tooth pain. Today, the oil can be diluted in olive oil – 1 drop of Tarragon essential oil to 5ml of olive oil and swished around in the mouth to numb pain and reduce swelling in the gums. As an added benefit, tarragon oil can also help to kill harmful bacteria and freshen the breath.
Tarragon essential oil can also be used to help reduce cramping and muscle spasms as it provides natural pain relief.
Tarragon essential oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties and is very cleansing to the skin. The aroma of the essential oil is the key to these properties – the estragon, which displays the antifungal and antibacterial elements. When used in a body wash, the estragon and the other components in the essential oil, work together to remove bacteria and therefore remove the odour causing BO. Applied under the arms in a cream or for the feet, Tarragon essential oil is a must for those of us who suffer from body odour.
The same principle can be applied to areas of the home that are not as sweet as they should be. For example, after cooking fish in the kitchen, or in the toilet areas of the home, Tarragon essential oil can be used in a vaporiser to completely dispel the aromas.
Tarragon essential oil can be incorporated into aromatherapy treatments and massage to provide stimulation without anxiety. The oil can help to uplift and energise the mind and body, while calming the mind and increasing focus.
Tarragon essential oil can be diffused during the workday to increase efficiency or in any stressful situation to help calm anxious fear or feelings. Tarragon essential oil can also be used in a massage for muscular release and to promote calmness and sleep.
Because Tarragon essential oil is antibacterial, it is a great addition to skin care. Added to that, Tarragon is also antioxidant, and therefore antiaging. Tarragon essential oil can help to clear and tighten the pores of the skin to reduce the likelihood of blackhead and acne cysts. If acne cysts are already present, Tarragon essential oil can be applied topically to the cyst itself on a cotton bud.
Tarragon essential oil can also help prevent damage caused by free radicals such as pollution, the sun’s UV rays, and stress. Adding a drop of tarragon oil to 50ml of your nightly moisturiser may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles.
Tarragon essential oil is not only useful for encouraging healthy skin on the face but is also effective on the whole body. It can be used for fungal infections like athlete’s foot, help heal bruises and cuts and is also very soothing when used with Lavender essential oil for sunburn.
Tarragon essential oil helps to ease can help to regulate menstruation and ensure a healthy menstrual cycle because, again, of the estragon, which is hormonally balancing.
Tarragon essential oil blends labdanum, galbanum, lavender, oak moss, vanilla, pine and basil, and can add a special ‘something’ to an ordinary blend
Cautions and comments: Estragon (estragole or methyl chavicol can be irritant so please use Tarragon essential oil in moderation only. Used in normal aromatherapy dilutions it is non-irritant, non-sensitising. However please avoid during pregnancy.
You may like to try some of my recipes as below, and if you do, please do give us feedback on how they worked – we love hearing from you!
To keep the home fresh and bacteria-free as well as odour-free, use the recipe below. In a 10ml dropper bottle use:
3ml Tarragon essential oil
3ml Sweet Orange essential oil
2ml Geranium essential oil
2ml Pine essential oil
Blend all the oils well in the bottle and push in the dropper cap. Use up to 6 drops at a time in a vaporiser or put 3 drops on a tissue to carry round with you when needed.
For an effective remedy for athletes’ foot, use the recipe below. In a 100ml jar with cap use:
80ml Blending Cream Base
12ml Sunflower oil
1ml Tarragon essential oil
1ml Lavender True essential oil
1ml Tagetes essential oil
(30 drops is 1ml from a Penny Price Aromatherapy essential oil bottle)
Put the Blending Cream and Sunflower oil in a small basin and whisk together. Add the essential oils and stir well, then transfer to the jar, clean the edges and put the lid on. Use morning and evening and apply to dry, clean feet.
This recipe will help you to keep your skin supported, with antibacterial and antioxidant protection. In a 100ml jar use the following recipe:
90mls Moisture Cream for sensitive skin base
5mls Hazelnut oil
4mls Neroli hydrolat
8 drops Tarragon essential oil
8 drops Litsea essential oil
4 drops Lavender True essential oil
Put the Moisture Cream Base into the 100ml jar and stir round to soften. Add the hazelnut oil and stir again, then add the hydrolat and mix well. Finally add the essential oils in the order they are written in the recipe and stir well. Clean the edges of the pot and put on the lid. Use every morning and before going to bed.
This is a great recipe to help prevent BO and to keep your skin squeaky clean! In a 100ml bottle with pump top blend the following recipe:
99ml Bath Foam Base
10 drops Tarragon essential oil
10 drops Bergamot essential oil
10 drops Black Pepper essential oil
Put the bath foam into a small bowl and add the essential oils. Stir well and then, using a funnel, put the blend into the bottle and apply the lid. This can take some time so be patient! Use in your morning shower or bath to prepare for the day.