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The volatile essential oil of Tarragon is chemically identical with that of Anise, and it is found to be sexually stimulating. The word Tarragon means "a little dragon."
The kitchen herb Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is cultivated in England, and more commonly in France, for uses in salads, and other condimentary purposes. It is the "little Dragon Mugwort: in French, Herbe au Dragon"; to which, as to other Dragon herbs, was ascribed the faculty of curing the bites and stings of venomous beasts, and of mad dogs. The plant does not fructify in France.
Tarragon is of the Composite order, and closely related to our common Wormwood, and Southernwood, but its leaves are not divided. This herb is a native of Siberia, but has been long grown largely by French gardeners, and has since become widespread in this country as a popular fruit, also for making a vinegar, and for adding to salads. The word Tarragon is the meaning of "a little dragon." French cooks commonly mix their table mustard with the vinegar of the herb.
Many strange tales have been told about the origin of the plant, one of which, scarce worth the noting, runs that the seed of flax put into a radish root, or a sea onion, and being thus set doth bring forth this herb Tarragon (so says Gerard).
In Continental cookery the use of Tarragon is advised to temper the coldness of other herbs in salads, like as a Rocket doth. "Neither," say the authorities, "do we know what other use this herb hath."
The volatile essential oil of Tarragon is chemically identical with that of Anise, and it is found to be sexually stimulating. Probably by virtue of its finely elaborated camphor it exercises its specific effects, the fact being established that too much camphor acts in the opposite direction.
John Evelyn says of the plant "' Tarragon is highly cordial and friendly to the head, heart, and liver."