Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tarragon or 'Little Dragon'....

The first thing that drew me to Tarragon was its botanical name, Artemisia dracunculus, translating to 'Little Dragon'. With a name like that I figured she must be pretty cool, shallow I know. She is from the same, rather potent, family as Wormwood, Southernwood and Cronewort.

However finding info on her seems tricky. There is some discussions about how to tell French Tarragon from Russian or Spanish. It seems French is the most sought after and difficult to grow, as she rarely flowers and nearly never sets seed, identifier number one. She's grown by dividing rootstock, where as Russian and Spanish flower and set seed. Second identifier seems to be that chewing her leaves numbs the toungue, although I found that with the plant pictured above from my garden and she's flowering away happily. As I havent tasted the French kind to know its apparently 'distinctive' flavour, I can't as yet tell if the aniseedy taste of the plant I have is said plant. They seem also to share the same botanical name at times, which is confusing.

My gut response to Tarragon is that the ability to numb ones mouth suggests a sedative or calming medicine to me, which would make sense considering her family roots. The aniseed flavour a relationship to digestion. Maude Grieves says that Russian Tarragon is eaten in Persia to induce apetite. Infact Tarragon is probably best known for being popped into a bottle of vinegar where its flavours infuse into what can then be used to flavour dressings or pickles. The essential oil it contains, identical to Anise is lost in drying.

With a name like 'Little Dragon' one could easily imagine her having protective qualities, as Scott Cunningham suggests, but also to be earthing or grounding. Being that the symbol of the Dragon as representative of the Earth is a global phenomena. Some folks refer to the grid of energy lines crossing the planet sometimes called Ley Lines, or Song Lines, as 'Dragon Lines'. Certainly the potency of her flavour brings one into body and hence present with earthly realms.

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