Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family. It is widespread in the wild across much of Eurasia and North America, and is cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Distillation of the tarragon herb is accomplished almost exclusively in France, although smaller quantities are produced in Holland, Hungary and the U.S.A. The whole overground part of the herb is steam distilled immediately prior to the inflorescence.
Tarragon has a flavor and odor profile reminiscent of anise, due largely to the presence of estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in mice. However, a European Union investigation concluded that the danger of estragole is minimal even at 100–1,000 times the typical consumption seen in humans. Estragole concentration in fresh tarragon leaves is about 2900 mg/kg.