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Family Compositae

Artemisia dracunculus L.

Long hao

Scientific names Common names
Achillea dracunculus Hort. ex Steud. Little dragon (Engl.)
Artemisia aromatica A. Nelson Silky wormwood (Engl.)
Artemisia changaica Krasch. Tarragon (Engl.)
Artemisia dracunculoides Pursh  
Artemisia dracunculus L.  
Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd.  
Artemisia inodora Hook. &. Am.  
Artemisia nodora Willd.  
Oligosporus dracunculiformis (Karsch.) Poljaov  
Oligosporus dracunculus (L.) Poljakod. &. Am.  
Oligosporus glaucus (Pall. ex Willd.) Poljaov  
Artemisia dracunculus L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Tarhun.
CHINESE: Long hao.
DANISH: Esdragon, Fransk esdragon, Fransk estragon, Russisk esdragon.
DUTCH: Dragon, Drakebloed, Klapperkruid, Slangekruid.
FINNISH: Rakuma.
FRENCH: Dragon, Estragon.
GERMAN: Estragon.
ITALIAN: Dragoncello, Dragone, Estragon.
JAPANESE: Esutoragon, Taragon.
POLISH: Bylica estragon, Estragon.
PORTUGUESE: Estragão, Estragão-francês.
RUSSIAN: Estragon, Polyn' estragonnaia,Tarkhun.
SPANISH: Dragoncillo, Estragon.
SWEDISH: Dragon, Dragonört, Fransk dragon, Rysk dragon.
VIETNAMESE: Ngải thơm, Thanh hao lá hẹp, Thanh cao rồng.

General info
First called "Estragon" derived from the Arabic word "tharkhoum'" and the Latin word "dracunculus" meaning "little dragon" probably from the way the roots curls up like a dragon. The French refer to it as the "King of Herbs," flavoring many of its classic cuisine.

Tarragon is an aromatic perennial small shrub with slim woody branching stems growing to a height of 2 to 3 feet. Leaves are linear or lanceolate , 1 to 4 inches long, with small globe-shaped yellow or greenish-white flowers in terminal panicles.


- Estragole is the main constituent of tarragon essential oil.

- Active secondary metabolites are essential oil (0.15%-3.1%), coumarins (>1%), flavonoids, and phenolcarbonic acids.
- Analysis of essential oil yielded main components of 3,7-dimethyl-1,3,7-octatriene (38.43%), 1S-alpha-pinene (36.96%), 1-methoxy-4-(2-Propenyl)-benzene (8.57%), limonene (6.33%), 1R-alpha-pinene (3.40%), etc. (17)
- Study of essential oil extracted from air-dried shoots yielded 34 compounds. Major constituents were trans-Anethole (28.06%), Z-β-ocimene (15.79%), α- Terpenolene (10.12%), Elemecin (10.08%), 1, 8 cineole (7.71%) and α- copaene (2.78%), etc. (18)
- Nutrient analysis of herb per 100 g of herb yielded (Principles) energy 295 Kcal, carbohydrates 50.22 g, protein 22.77 g, total fat 7.24 g, cholesterol 0 mg,
dietary fiber 7.4 g, (Vitamins) folates 274 µg, niacin 8.950 mg, pyridoxine 2.410 mg, riboflavin 1.339 mg, thiamin 0.251 mg, vitamin A 4200 IU, vitamin C 50.0 mg, (Electrolytes) sodium 62 mg, potassium 3020 mg / 64% RDA, (Minerals) calcium 1139 mg, copper 0.677 mg, iron 32.30 mg / 403% RDA, magnesium 347 mg, manganese 7.967 mg / 346% RDA. zinc 3.90 mg. (19)
- Study of essential oil yielded 19 compounds with main compounds of methyl chavicol (84.83%), trans-ocimene (3.86%), z-β-ocimene (3.42%), limonene (1.79%) and α-pinene (0.57%). Total phenols were 10.16 ± 0.08 mg/g gallic acid equivalent. (see study below) (23)

- The French variety has the aromatic oils lacking in Russian tarragon.
- The undiluted oil may be irritating to the skin.
- A rich plant source of potassium.
- Considered antiscorbutic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypnotic, stomachic and vermifuge.
- Studies have suggested antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and antihyperglycemic properties.

- Shares a common name with Artmesia vulagris.
- Cross-allergenicity in those sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family; i.e., ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies.

Parts utilized
Above ground parts.

- A culinary herb with distinctly flavored leaves that enhances the flavors of food (fish, poultry, pork, lamb, etc.). Used fresh in salads and as garnishes. Use in small amounts. Bitter when overcooked.
- Leaves used in the making of tarragon vinegar.
- Used for digestive disorders, toothache.
- To promote menstruation.
- Used as a diuretic and to enhance the appetite.
- In Iranian folk medicine, used for its anticoagulant activity; also as antiepileptic.
- Tarragon oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops. Used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
- Essential oil used in aromatherapy for digestive and menstrual problems.


Anti-Diabetic: Polyphenolic compounds were isolated from A dracunculus which inhibited PEPCK gene expression and gluconeogenesis in a hepatoma cell line. Results suggest the isolated compounds maybe responsible for its glucose-lowering activity. (1) Study evaluated the antidiabetic effect of Artemisia dracunculus against alloxan induced diabetes in Wistar rats. Results showed significant anti-diabetic activity. Glibenclamide was used as standard. (29)
Anti-Platelet Adhesion and Aggregation:
Study of extracts of Artemisia dracunculus showed inhibition of platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion and supports its traditional use as an anticoagulant. (
Study showed binding activity in the extracts of Artemisia dracunculus showed a binding affinity to the central human benzodiazepine receptor. (
Study isolated antifungal constituents, 5-phenyl-1,3-pentadiyne and capillarinin - from the essential oil fraction of AD. It also isolated methyleugenol, another antifungal constituent of the oil. (
Toxicological Evaluation:
Tarralin is an ethanolic extract of A dracunculus (Russian tarragon). No signs of toxicity were noted in an acute limit test in rats and in an oral subchronic 90-day toxicity study. Results suggest tarralin is safe and non-toxic with no observed adverse effects in rats up to 1000 mg/kg/day. (6)
Study showed inhibition of platelet adhesion; also,self-aggregation and protein secretion were affected by crude methanol extracts. Results provide the basis for traditional use in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and thrombosis. (
Antimicrobial: Study showed the methanol extract of A dracunculus is more effective against tested organisms than chloroform or acetone extracts. There was inhibition of P aeruginosa, E coli, Shigella, L monocytogenes. (
Anticonvulsant / Sedative:
Study of the essential oil revealed the presence of trans-anethole, limonene, a-pinene, allo-ocimene, methyl eugenol, ß-pinene, a-terpinolene, bornyl acetate and bicylogermacrene. Results showed anticonvulsant and sedative effects probably related to the presence of monoterpenoids in the essential oil. (9)
Anti-Platelet Adhesion / Cardiovascular Thrombosis:
Platelet hyperactivity, resulting in platelet adhesion to the vessel wall, is one of the most important factors in thrombosis and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Study of the methanol extracts of three herb spices, including Artemisia dracunculus, showed inhibition of platelet adhesion. In addition to alteration of cell adhesive properties, cell aggregation and protein secretion were also affected in the treated platelets. Results provide a basis for the use of the herbs in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and thrombosis. (11)
Tarralin / Safety Studies:
Tarralin, an ethanolic extract of Artemisia dracunculus, a common medicinal and culinary herb, was shown to be safe and non-toxic in studies, with no-adverse effects in rat study at 1000 mg/kg/day.
Hypoglycemic Effects / Screening / Tarragon on Insulin Action in Humans:
Results are awaited on study of PMI-5011, investigated on its effects on improving carbohydrate metabolism by enhancement of molecular events of insulin action in skeletal muscle. (13)
Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves:
Study evaluated the nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of leaf aqueous extract on fructose drinking water (FDW) in male rats. Results showed FDW causes pain response score to increase and cause proinflammatory cytokines in a rat model. The AD leaf aqueous extracts showed anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. (
No Significant DPPIV Inhibition: Study evaluated if extracts of A. dracunculus can act as a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPPIV) inhibitor for the control of type 2 diabetes. Results sowed the extract could not significantly control DPPIV activity. (
Antinociceptive / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the antinociceptive effect of essential oil of A. dracunculus in various experimental models. Results showed peripheral and central nociceptive activity (formalin and hot-plate test. (
Antibacterial / Antioxidant / Natural Preservatives / Essential Oil: The essential oil showed antioxidant and antibacterial activities. The major aromatic compound was The compounds may have potential in the prevention of cancer and atherosclerosis, through the inhibition of lipid oxidation. Results suggest potential for use as natural preservative in food models to replace synthetic preservatives in foods. (see constituents above) (
Anticoagulant / Leaves: Study evaluated the presence of coumarins in tarragon leaves and the extract with major amount of coumarin derivatives. Purified extracts and fractions from plant residue after essential oil distillation showed the best anticoagulant activity. The methanol extract at concentration of 5% showed best anticoagulant activity. (
Antidiarrheal / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the effects of essential oil of A. dracunculus on rat alimentary tract. Results showed inhibition of castor oil-induced diarrhea at 75 and 100 mg/kg dose. The EOAD delated the onset of diarrhea. (
Hemolytic Effect: Study evaluated the effect of three extracts (A. dracunculus, Cuminum cyminum, and Heracleum persicum) on biological membrane. A. dracunculus showed the highest hemolytic effect. (
Increased Glucose Uptake in Human Skeletal Muscle Culture: Animal pilot studies have shown an effect to improve glucose levels. Study evaluated an alcoholic extract of AD to promote glucose disposal in a major insulin sensitive tissue, i.e., skeletal tissue. Results showed AD has potential to improve glucose disposal in insulin sensitive tissues and may selectively increase IRS-2 abundance. (
Inhibition of PEPCK Gene Expression and Gluconeogenesis in Hepatoma Cell Line: Study
evaluated an ethyl acetate extract of AD and its fractions for inhibitory activity of Dex-cAMP-induced PEPCK gene expression in an H4IIE rat hepatoma cell line. Study isolated two polyphenolic compounds that inhibited PEPCK mRNA levels were isolated and identified as 6-demethoxycapillarisin and 2',4'-dihydroxy-4- methoxydihydrochalcone with IC50 values of 43 and 61 µM, respectively. Results suggests the extract and compounds have a potential for use in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and related disorders. (28)

- Cultivated.
- Essential oil in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Tarragon or dragon's-wort (Artemisia dracunculus L. / Non-profit use / click on image to go to source page/ See It 360 / / @ Copyright 2013 Southern Digital Solutions LLC - 404-551-4275
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE:: Public Domain / Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 3: 524. / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Polyphenolic compounds from Artemisia dracunculus L. inhibit PEPCK gene expression and gluconeogenesis in an H4IIE hepatoma cell line / Dmitry Govorko et al / Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 293: E1503-E1510, 2007. First published September 11, 2007; doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00420.2007
Tarragon / Essential Oil
Inhibition of blood platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion by Artemisia dracunculus leaves extracts / Journal of ethnopharmacology ISSN 0378-8741 CODEN JOETD7 / 2007, vol. 114, no2, pp. 194-19
Identification of benzodiazepines in Artemisia dracunculus and Solanum tuberosum rationalizing their endogenous formation in plant tissue / Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Mar 5;269(1):290-5.
Antifungal Constituents of the Essential Oil Fraction of Artemisia dracunculus L. Var. dracunculus / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50 (24), pp 6989–6992 DOI: 10.1021/jf020466w
Artemisia dracunculus - L. / Tarragon / Plants For A Future
Toxicological evaluation of the ethanolic extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. for use as a dietary supplement and in functional foods / Ribnicky David et al / Food and chemical toxicology • 2004, vol. 42, no4, pp. 585-598
Comparative effects of Artemisia dracunculus, Satureja hortensis and Origanum majorana on inhibition of blood platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion / Razieh Yazdanparast and Leila Shahriyary / Vascular Pharmacology • Volume 48, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 32-37doi:10.1016/j.vph.2007.11.003
Screening antimicrobial activity of various extracts of Artemisia dracunculus L. / Mehika Benil et al / Cell Biochemistry and Function • Volume 25 Issue 6, Pages 681 - 686 / DOI 10.1002/cbf.1373
Anticonvulsant activity and chemical composition of Artemisia dracunculus L. essential oil / Mohammad Sayyah et al / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.05.021 / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 94, Issues 2-3, October 2004, Pages 283-287
TWO NEW COMPOUNDS FROM ARTEMISIA DRACUNCULUS L. / Razieh Yazdanparast et al / DARU, VOL. 8, No. 1 & 2, 2000
Comparative effects of Artemisia dracunculus, Satureja hortensis and Origanum majorana on inhibition of blood platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion / Razieh Yazdanparast and Leila Shahriyary /
Vascular Pharmacology, Volume 48, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 32-37 / doi:10.1016/j.vph.2007.11.003
Toxicological evaluation of the ethanolic extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. for use as a dietary supplement and in functional foods / Ribnicky DM, Poulev A et al / Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Apr;42(4):585-98.
Safety and Efficacy Study of Tarragon on Insulin Action in Humans (5011) / Clinical Trials / NIH
Artemisia dracunculus L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Sorting Artemisia names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.
Artemisia dracunculus L. (Tarragon): A Critical Review of Its Traditional Use, Chemical Composition, Pharmacology, and Safety / Ivo Pischel, Bjoern Feistel, Michael Heinrich et al / Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 09/2011; 59(21):11367-84. / DOI: 10.1021/jf202277w

Phytochemical studies on the extract and essential oils of Artemisia dracunculus L. (Tarragon) / Irfan-ur-Rauf Tak*, Dawood Mohiuddin, B. A. Ganai, M. Z. Chishti, Fayaz Ahmad and Jehangir Shafi Dar / African Journal of Plant Science, Vol. 8(1), pp. 72-75, January 2014 / DOI: 10.5897/AJPS2013.1145
Tarragon herb nutrition facts / Nutritional Values/ USDA National Nutrient Data Base
The Nociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Artemisia dracunculus L. Aqueous Extract on Fructose Fed Male Rats / Shahraki Mohammad Reza, Mirshekari Hamideh, and Samadi Zahra / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2015 (2015) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/895417
Evaluating The Use of Artemisia dracunculus L. as a DPPIV Inhibitor for Type II Diabetes / Roger Nehaul College of Agriculture and Life Sciences UFID: 2196-0259
Antinociceptive effect of the essential oil of tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) / Masoud Maham*, Hemmat Moslemzadeh & Ghader Jalilzadeh-Amin / Pharmaceutical Biology, Volume 52, Issue 2, 2014 / DOI:10.3109/13880209.2013.824007
The Evaluation of the Antibacterial and Antioxidant Activity of Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus L.) Essential Oil and Its Chemical Composition / Reza Sharafati Chaleshtori* ; Noordahr Rokni; Vadood Razavilar; and Mahmoud Rafieian Kopaei / Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology. 2013 November; 6(9): e7877 / DOI: 10.5812/jjm.7877
Anticoagulant activity of some Artemisia dracunculus leaf extracts
/ Kemal Duric*, Elvira E. Kovac-Besovic, Haris Niksic, Samija Muratovic, Emin Sofic / Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2015;15(2):9-14. © 2015 ABMSFBIH
Effects of Artemisia dracunculus essential oil on diarrhea and intestinal transit time in rat gastrointestinal tract / Ghader Jalilzadeh-Amin , Behzad Mehrivar qarehdarvishlu / Physiol Pharmacol. 2015; 18 (4) :416-428
Study of aqueous extract of three medicinal plants on cell membrane–permeabilizing and their surface properties / GD Noudeh, F Sharififar, M Khatib, E Behravan, MA Afzadi / African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol 9, No 1 (2010)
Effect of a Alcoholic Extract of Artemisia dracunculus (Tarralin™) on Glucose Uptake in Human Skeletal Muscle Culture / ZHONG WANG, XIAN M. ZHANG, DAVID M. RIBNICKY, WILLIAM T. CEFALU / Abstract Number: 1706-P / 2004

Polyphenolic compounds from Artemisia dracunculus L. inhibit PEPCK gene expression and gluconeogenesis in an H4IIE hepatoma cell line / Dmitry Govorko, Sithes Logendra, Yanxin Wang, Debora Esposito, Slavko Komarnytsky, David Ribnicky, Alexander Poulev, Zhong Wang, William T. Cefalu, and Ilya Raskin / Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 293: E1503–E1510, 2007 / doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00420.2007.
Phytochemical Screening And Hypoglycemic Effect Of Artemisia Dracunculus L.
/ Mohammad Mansoor, Kota Ashok*, Srinivasa Rao D. / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCES IN PHARMACY MEDICINE AND BIOALLIED SCIENCES, Volume 3, Issue 2, Page 93-97, May-August 2015

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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