Russian tarragon (Artemisia
dracunculus, Asteraceae), also known as wild tarragon, false
tarragon, and dragon's wort, is native to Siberia, but grows in other parts of
Russia as well as Asia. The herb has long, thin, spikey leaves on wire-like
stems that tend to grow every which way but up. It is easier to grow than
French tarragon (Artemisia
dracunculus 'Sativa', Asteraceae), but has no distinct flavor.
Both forms of tarragon contain iodine,
potassium, and vitamins A and C, as well as trace elements and beneficial
mineral salts. However, Russian tarragon is used more for medicinal purposes,
while French tarragon is used primarily for culinary purposes. The herb has
been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders in both Russia and Asia. It is
thought that Russian tarragon can stimulate the appetite, and tinctures have
been made and drunk as tea. The herb was also used to sweeten the breath,
stimulate the appetite, and prevent scurvy. It has been used in traditional
Persian medicine as a blood cleanser and for the treatment of headaches and
Russian tarragon may support
cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that Russian tarragon can aid in
inhibiting blood platelet aggregation, adhesion, and secretion. The herb has
hyperglycemic properties and can help the body to use insulin more effectively,
resulting in lower blood glucose levels (See HC
111232-469). Russian tarragon may be useful for women who experience
suppressed menstruation, since it is considered to have emmenagogue properties.
Russian tarragon essential oil may provide anticonvulsant properties as well as
act as a mild sedative. Russian tarragon contains eugenol, a natural
anesthetic, and therefore provides relief to nagging toothaches. Russian
tarragon is also considered to be a diuretic.
Weight lifters and bodybuilders have begun using Russian
tarragon for its supposed bodybuilding effects, as the herb may increase muscle
creatine absorption. Normally, creatine is ingested with large amounts of
carbohydrates for absorption, but since Russian tarragon may provide similar
effects with creatine, consumption of high doses of carbohydrates would not be
necessary. This means that the herb may possibly help with weight loss as well.