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Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

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Also listed as: Artemesia dracunculus
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Acetylcoumarin, acetylenes, aglycone, alkamide, allo-ocimene, alpha-terpinolene, alpha-trans-ocimene, anethole, artemidin, artemidinol, artemidiol, Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia argvi, Artemisia biennis, Artemisia cana, Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia frigida, Artemisia longifolia, Artemisia ludoviciana, Asteraceae (family), benzodiadepines, beta-ocimene, beta-pinene, bicyclogermacrene, bornyl acetate, butylisocoumarin, caffeoylquinic acid, capillarin, capillarin isovalerate, coumarins, davidigenin, demethoxycapillarisin, diacetoxycoumarin, dimethylcoumarin, dracumerin, dragon, dragon mugwort, dragoncillo (Spanish), dragon's-wort, (E)-beta-ocimene, epoxyartemidin, esdragon (French), estragăo (Portuguese), estragole, estragon, flavanone, French tarragon, glycoside-7-rhamnonaringin, herbe au dragon (French), herniarine, hydroxyartemidin, hydroxycapillarin, hydroxycoumarin, limonene, methoxycoumarin, methoxydihydroartemidin, methoxydihydrochalcone, methoxypsoralen, methylchavicol, methylcoumarin, methyleugenol, monoterpenes, naringenin, neopellitorine, nepellitorine, octatriene, pellitorine, pentadiyne, phenols, pinene, piperitone, Russian tarragon, rutin, silky wormwood, tarrilin, trans-anethole, Turkish tarragon, vomifoliol A glucosides.
  • Note: This monograph does not cover Tagetes lucida Cav. (syn. T. florida Sweet, T. schiedeana Less.), which is also known as Mexican tarragon and Texas tarragon. Tagetes belongs to the same family as Artemisia but to a different botanical tribe.

Background
  • Tarragon is a perennial herb of the Asteraceae family and is related to wormwood. Tarragon is widely used to flavor food. The plant's fragrant leaves give foods an anise-like flavor.
  • Tarragon has a long tradition of use as a tea in the West and in Asia for treating upset stomach. It has been studied in combination with ginger and cardamom as a treatment for vomiting and nausea. Tarragon has also been studied as an herb to help manage blood sugar.
  • Tarragon contains estragole, a compound which may cause liver cancer. However, the amount of estragole from short-term use of herbs and supplements in adults at recommended doses does not seem to have a high cancer risk.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Tarragon, in combination with ginger and cardamom, may reduce nausea and vomiting following surgery. The effects of tarragon alone cannot be determined from this study. Additional research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Allergies, antacid, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulant, blood thinner, cancer, diabetes, digestive aid, epilepsy, flavoring agent, food allergies, infection in stomach ulcers, metabolic disorders, muscle mass/body mass, painful menstruation, rabies, sedation, snake venom antidote, toothache, uterine cancer, uterine complaints.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Tarragon has been used as a tea, made from one teaspoon of powdered or dried tarragon boiled in a cup of water.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • Insufficient available evidence.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to tarragon, its constituents, or to members of the Asteraceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Tarragon may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Tarragon may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Tarragon contains estragole. Although not well-studied in humans, estragole may cause liver cancer. Use caution in those who may be at greater risk of liver cancer.
  • Use caution at high doses, based on secondary sources.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Tarragon is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Tarragon may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Tarragon may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Tarragon may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • Tarragon may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may change in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Tarragon may also interact with antiallergy agents, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiseizure agents, drugs that may affect the immune system, drugs that may affect the nervous system, drugs that may damage the liver, and drugs that prevent nausea and vomiting.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Tarragon may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Tarragon may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Tarragon may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
  • Tarragon may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may change in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements potentially may have on the P450 system.
  • Tarragon may also interact with antiallergy agents, antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antiseizure herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that may affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that may affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that may damage the liver, and herbs and supplements that prevent nausea and vomiting.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
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  2. Chen J, Huang XF. The signal pathways in azoxymethane-induced colon cancer and preventive implications. Cancer Biol Ther 2009;8(14):1313-7.
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  4. de Pradier E. A trial of a mixture of three essential oils in the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting. International Journal of Aromatherapy 2006;16(1):15-20.
  5. de Ridder S, van der Kooy F, Verpoorte R. Artemisia annua as a self-reliant treatment for malaria in developing countries. J Ethnopharmacol 2008;120(3):302-14.
  6. Efferth T, Romero MR, Wolf DG, et al. The antiviral activities of artemisinin and artesunate. Clin Infect Dis 2008;47(6):804-11.
  7. Firestone GL, Sundar SN. Anticancer activities of artemisinin and its bioactive derivatives. Expert Rev Mol Med 2009;11:e32.
  8. Graziose R, Lila MA, Raskin I. Merging traditional Chinese medicine with modern drug discovery technologies to find novel drugs and functional foods. Curr Drug Discov Technol 2010;7(1):2-12.
  9. Krebs S, Omer TN, Omer B. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) suppresses tumour necrosis factor alpha and accelerates healing in patients with Crohn's disease - A controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine 2010;17(5):305-9.
  10. Krishna S, Bustamante L, Haynes RK, Staines HM. Artemisinins: their growing importance in medicine. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2008;29(10):520-7.
  11. Oreagba IA, Olayemi SO, Omotosho SK, et al. The use of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in public secondary health facilities in Lagos, Nigeria. Niger Postgrad Med J 2008;15(2):94-100.
  12. Premji ZG. Coartem: the journey to the clinic. Malar J 2009;8 Suppl 1:S3.
  13. Turschner S, Efferth T. Drug resistance in Plasmodium: natural products in the fight against malaria. Mini Rev Med Chem 2009;9(2):206-2124.
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  15. Xu HM, Wang Y, Liu NF. Safety of an injection with a mixture of extracts from Herba Artemisiae annuae, Fructus Gardeniae and Flos Lonicerae. Pharm World Sci 2009;31(4):458-63.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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