A colorless to pale-green essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves with a yield of 0.25 – 1%. Its major components are phenols (70%) methyl chavicol (estragole)(60 – 87%), anethole. The essential oil is strongly antibacterial, although its main component estragole is not responsible for this activity. It has a licorice like aroma and blends well with anise, cinnamon, lavender, oakmoss, pine, vanilla and basil.
Psychologically, tarragon has hypnotic and stimulating properties and has been used as an energetic shock rescue remedy. On the physiological level it has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and neuromuscular tonic properties. Kurt Schnaubelt says that this is one of aromatherapy’s strongest antispasmodics. It is recommended for dyspepsia, flatulence, hiccoughs, intestinal spasm, nervous indigestion and sluggish digestion. It has also been recommended for amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and pre menstrual tension.
Contraindications:. Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic. However due to the high methyl chavicol content it should be sued with caution. Do not use during pregnancy.
Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000…20011