The leaves (and an essential oil obtained from them) are antiscorbutic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic and stomachic. An infusion is used in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, nausea, hiccups etc. The plant is mildly sedative and has been taken to aid sleep. It also has mild emmenagogue properties and can be used to induce a delayed period. A poultice can be used to relieve rheumatism, gout, arthritis and toothache. The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. This herb should not be prescribed for pregnant women. The root has been used to cure toothache.The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat digestive and menstrual problems.
Division is very easy in spring or autumn[K]. The divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up first and grow them on in a cold frame until they have rooted well.Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest young shoots about 10 - 15c long and pot them up in a lightly shaded place in a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions when well rooted. A very quick and easy method of propagation[K].
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Plants are relatively hardy in Britain, but can be killed in wet winters. It is best to grow tarragon in a dry, rather poor soil since this will produce hardier plants. The dry soil will also help to reduce predation by slugs, these creatures are very fond of the young growth and have been known to completely destroy even well-established plants[K]. When well suited, the plants can spread freely at the roots[K]. The flowers do not open in cool summers and viable seed is seldom produced. Often grown in the herb garden, tarragon is also sometimes grown commercially for its edible leaves which are used mainly as a flavouring. There is at least one named variety, 'Epicure' is a new fragrant cultivar. There is a closely related species, A. dracunculoides or Russian tarragon, which is quite inferior in flavour, though sometimes supplied under this name. A good companion for most plants, especially aubergines and sweet peppers.Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Problems, pests & diseases
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Polycultures & Guilds
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