Is Tarragon compatible with breastfeeding? Do we have alternatives for Tarragon?


December 8, 2017 (High Risk)

The leaves of the plant are used. Traditionally used as an antispasmodic, antiseptic, digestive and diuretic.

It contains 0.5-1% essential oil formed by ESTRAGOLE (Fraternale 2015), with genotoxic and cytotoxic effects (Ding 2015, Andrade 2015), METHYEUGENOL, with cytotoxic effect (Herrmann 2014, Groh 2016) and LIMONENE, with hepatotoxic effect ( Zárybnický 2017).

For this reason, the essential oil should not be used at all systemically (Kalantari 2013).

Do not use tarragon infusions or essential oil while breastfeeding.

Tarragon is used in many western cuisines as a flavouring agent and does not produce toxicity when consumed at culinary doses. Tarragon, when used in cooking is therefore compatible with breastfeeding.

Very Low Risk

Compatible. Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use a safer alternative. Read the Comment.

Very High Risk

Not recommended. Cessation of breastfeeding or alternative.


  • Dragoncillo
  • Estragon
  • French estragon
  • Silky wormwood


  • Artemisia dracunculus (Latin, botanical name)
  • Artemisia romantica (Latin, botanical name)
  • Dranunculus hortensi (Latin, botanical name)
  • Tragum vulgare (Latin, botanical name)
  • εστραγκόν (Greek)
  • نبات الطرخون (Arabic)
  • Эстрагон (Cyrillic)
  • 龍蒿 (Chinese)
  • エストラゴン (Japanese)
  • Armoise estragon (French)


  1. Zárybnický T, Boušová I, Ambrož M, Skálová L. Hepatotoxicity of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Arch Toxicol. 2017Abstract
  2. Groh IA, Rudakovski O, Gründken M, Schroeter A, Marko D, Esselen M. Methyleugenol and oxidative metabolites induce DNA damage and interact with human topoisomerases. Arch Toxicol. 2016Abstract
  3. Fraternale D, Flamini G, Ricci D. Essential Oil Composition and Antigermination Activity of Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon). Nat Prod Commun. 2015Abstract
  4. Andrade TC, De Lima SG, Freitas RM, Rocha MS, Islam T, Da Silva TG, Militão GC. Isolation, characterization and evaluation of antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity of estragole, obtained from the essential oil of Croton zehntneri (Euphorbiaceae). An Acad Bras Cienc. 2015Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Ding W, Levy DD, Bishop ME, Pearce MG, Davis KJ, Jeffrey AM, Duan JD, Williams GM, White GA, Lyn-Cook LE, Manjanatha MG. In vivo genotoxicity of estragole in male F344 rats. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2015Abstract
  6. Herrmann K, Engst W, Meinl W, Florian S, Cartus AT, Schrenk D, Appel KE, Nolden T, Himmelbauer H, Glatt H. Formation of hepatic DNA adducts by methyleugenol in mouse models: drastic decrease by Sult1a1 knockout and strong increase by transgenic human SULT1A1/2. Carcinogenesis. 2014Abstract
  7. Kalantari H, Galehdari H, Zaree Z, Gesztelyi R, Varga B, Haines D, Bombicz M, Tosaki A, Juhasz B. Toxicological and mutagenic analysis of Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon) extract. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013Abstract
  8. Lopes-Lutz D, Alviano DS, Alviano CS, Kolodziejczyk PP. Screening of chemical composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Artemisia essential oils. Phytochemistry. 2008Abstract