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Family : Daisy family (Asteraceae)
Subfamily : Asteroideae
Tribe : Anthemideae
Sub tribus : Artemisiinae
Genre : Artemisia
Type : tarragon
Scientific name
Artemisia dracunculus

Tarragon ( Artemisia dracunculus ), outdated also called Dragon or Dragun , is a species of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and is relatively closely related to wormwood .

Commercially available fresh or dried tarragon (also pharmaceutical as Herba dracunculi ) comes from agricultural cultivation, which on the German and Austrian market primarily comes from the Balkan countries and the Netherlands .


Tarragon is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches a height of 60 to 150 centimeters. The numerous, slightly hairy, linear-lanceolate leaves are sessile, entire or slightly serrate and 2–10 centimeters long. The rarely blooming tarragon has small yellow flower heads that are in panicles. These are 2-3 millimeters in size and have arms. The outer bracts are mostly green, oblong-elliptical, the inner ones are ovate and have broad skin margins. The marginal florets are female, the disc florets are hermaphroditic. The corolla is yellowish.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 18, 36 or 90.


The species is native to Eastern Europe, Asia and North America from Canada to Mexico. Tarragon is found as a wild plant in Eastern Europe . However, it is said to have got there a long time ago from the Far East. The rare occurrences in Austria are limited to ruderal areas in Burgenland and Vienna .


Artemisia dracunculus was first described by Carl von Linné in 1753 in Species Plantarum , Volume 2, p. 849 . Synonyms for Artemisia dracunculus are Artemisia aromatica A. Nelson , Artemisia changaica Krasch. , Artemisia dracunculina S. Watson , Artemisia dracunculoides Pursh , Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd. , Artemisia inodora Willd. , Artemisia pamirica C. Winkl. , Artemisia redowskyi Ledeb. , Artemisia simplicifolia Pamp. , Oligosporus changaicus ( Krasch. ) Poljakov , Oligosporus dracunculus ( L. ) Poljakov and Oligosporus pamiricus ( C.Winkl. ) Poljakov .

Tarragon, flower heads
Tarragon, sprouts with leaves


The young shoots or the leaves, which can be harvested several times a year, are traditionally used for seasoning . The leaves have a light aniseed aroma. Since the content of aromatic essential oils is highest shortly before flowering, the 20 to 30 centimeter long shoot tips are cut off at this time.

The infertile “French tarragon” ( Artemisia dracunculus var. Sativa ), also known as a synonym “German tarragon”, must be propagated vegetatively and is sensitive to frost. Propagation takes place through root division in spring and offshoots in summer. The seed- producing variety “Russian tarragon” ( Artemisia dracunculus var. Inodora ), which can withstand temperatures down to −10 ° C , is mostly grown in the nurseries . However, due to the lower content of essential oil, it has hardly any tarragon aroma. A phytochemical characterization also shows clear differences in the flavonoid fingerprint.

Tarragon is used for flavoring vinegar and mustard , for seasoning pickled cucumbers , poultry , rice or boiled fish, as well as for making sauces and marinades (e.g. béarnaise sauce ), and for seasoning salads , quark , herb butter and soups used. In addition to parsley , chives and chervil , tarragon is part of the classic French herb mixture Fines herbes .

In Georgia 's Tarchuna , a Tarragon lemonade, a common soft drink.


In ancient Egypt , during the reign of the pharaoh Hatshepsut from 1490 to 1468 BC, perfumes and scented oils were highly valued and thousands of kilograms of different plants (including tarragon) were distilled to make scented oils. The fragrance oil was then burned in the Egyptian temples . The plants from which the scented oils were made each had a different meaning, depending on which deity they were assigned to. The statue of the god Isis was covered with the perfume oil of the tarragon plant. When the deity Isis was to be asked for a favor, the fragrance oil of the tarragon was burned as a sacrificial offering.

Tarragon (regional Bertram , not to be confused with the German Bertram ) is considered the only traditional German kitchen spice that was not yet used by the Romans . The oldest references to its use come from China in the second millennium BC . The ancient Greeks knew tarragon as drakos ( snake , dragon ) and used it for magic . From there the Arabs took it over asطرخون tarchun , DMG ṭarḫūn and used them to season their dishes. In today's Germany, the name Drakonkraut arose from this. In the Middle East, tarragon was first mentioned in the middle of the 12th century, the first mention in the West by the Genoese Simon Ianuensis at the end of the 13th century.


The term tarragon comes from Arabic طرخون tarchun , DMG ṭarḫūn orطرخوم tarchum , DMG ṭarḫūm and Persian ترخون tarchun , DMG tarḫūn from. At the time of the Crusades , the term came to Europe; In the 13th century , the word in Middle Latin first appeared in medical texts in the modification Tarcon , from which the Spanish Taragona was formed in1592.

There are other mentions in Romanian ; Tarhon , Turkish ; Tarhun , Hungarian ; Tárkony , Sicilian ; Straguni , in Neapolitan ; Stregoni and in Venetian ( Erba Stragon ). In French , tarragon was formed from 1564 , in Spanish from 1762 Estragón , from which the German name is derived. Further modifications of the name can be found in the Malay language or Indonesian language with Tarragon and in the Finnish language with Rakuuna .

Another version says that the name derives from the Latin word draco (= dragon or snake); the scientific name of the plant is Artemisia dracunculus . It used to be believed that the leaves would heal venomous snake bites. The current Danish name derived from it is Dragon .

In German-speaking countries, the following other trivial names were or are used for this plant species, sometimes only regionally : Biertram ( Transylvania ), Drachant ( Zurich ), Dragon ( Pomerania , Hamburg ), Dragackel, Dragunten ( Lower Weser ), Eggplant, Fieferkrott ( Transylvania), Kaisersalat ( Thuringia ), trotting and Zittwerkraut.

Tarragon in herbal medicine

Structural formula of estragole - A controversial ingredient in tarragon

Since tarragon contains tarragole , which is suspected to be carcinogenic and mutagenic for humans , according to the Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary Medicine , consumption should be limited to kitchen preparation. However, this contradicts medical studies that even assess 100 to 1000 times the typical consumption as harmless.

Tarragon is said to have a digestive and flow- promoting effect as well as a diuretic effect and contains a lot of potassium . A comparison of the two varieties shows that Russian tarragon has an approximately four to five times higher sodium content . It was used as a medicinal plant for dropsy , sluggish kidneys , loss of appetite, weak stomach and flatulence . As a home remedy , tarragon oil is said to relieve rheumatism and muscle cramps and, in the form of an essence or in leaf form, work against hiccups . However, none of these properties ascribed to tarragon have been proven.

Ingredients: Essential oils ( estragole , phellandrene , ocimen ), flavonoids , tannins and bitter substances . Tarragon also contains small amounts of the benzodiazepine delorazepam . However, the amounts contained are so small that they are not pharmacologically relevant.

See also


  • Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumonts little spice dictionary. Edition Dörfler im Nebel Verlag, Egolsheim 2004, ISBN 3-89555-202-X .
  • Avril Rodway: Herbs and Spices. Tessloff, Hamburg 1980, ISBN 3-7886-9910-8 .
  • Gustav Hegi : Illustrated flora of Central Europe. 2nd edition, Volume VI, Part 4. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin / Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-489-86020-9 , pp. 635-637 (description).

Web links

Commons : Tarragon  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: tarragon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumonts small spice dictionary. P. 44.
  2. ^ Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp. 943 .
  3. a b Artemisia dracunculus in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Manfred A. Fischer, Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol . 3rd, improved edition. Province of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9 , p. 923 .
  5. Carl von Linné: Species Plantarum . 1st edition. tape 2 . Stockholm 1753, p. 849 ( scanned at Biodiversity Heritage Library - Artemisia dracunculus).
  6. M. Qaiser: Asteraceae . In: SI Ali, M. Qaiser (Ed.): Flora of Pakistan . tape 207 , Artemisia dracunculus , p. 101 ( online - English, section systematics, text identical to the printed work).
  7. Lin Yourun (Ling Yuou-ruen), Christopher J. Humphries, Michael G. Gilbert: Asteraceae. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (Eds.): Flora of China . Volume 20-21: Asteraceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 2011, ISBN 978-1-935641-07-0 , pp. 725 (English). Artemisia dracunculus. (Section systematics)
  8. ^ Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumonts small spice dictionary. P. 47.
  9. ^ Danièle Ryman: Handbook of Aromatherapy - Healing Oils and Herbal Essences for Health and Wellbeing. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-453-04097-X , p. 32.
  10. Alfons Schuhbeck , Monika Reiter: My kitchen of spices. Zabert Sandmann, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-89883-193-2 , p. 38.
  11. ^ Nabil Osman (Ed.): Small lexicon of German words of Arabic origin (=  Beck'sche Reihe . Volume 456 ). 8th edition. Verlag CH Beck oHG, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60155-2 .
  12. Duden, Tarragon. Spelling, meaning, definition, origin. Bibliographisches Institut GmbH, Dudenverlag, accessed on November 19, 2015 .
  13. ^ Georg August Pritzel , Carl Jessen : The German folk names of plants. New contribution to the German linguistic treasure. Philipp Cohen, Hannover 1882, p. 43 ( archive.org ).
  14. Minimization of estragole and methyl eugenol levels in food. Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection, January 15, 2002, accessed on September 5, 2015 (background paper, PDF, 32 kB).
  15. ^ Horst Surburg, Johannes Panten: Common Fragrance and Flavor Materials: Preparation, Properties and Uses. Wiley-VCH, 2006, ISBN 3-527-60789-7 , p. 233.
  16. Marie-Josephin Rode (aka little herb witch): Remedy for hiccups. estragon.org, accessed May 16, 2014 (website with instructions for using tarragon for hiccups).
  17. Dominique Kavvadias: Ligands of the benzodiazepine receptor: Studies on benzodiazepines in plant tissues and on hispidulin. (PDF; 1.8 MB) Dissertation at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg , 2003, p. 5.