Dill is a plant that has a long history as a culinary spice. But it has also been used as a magic weapon and a medicine. During the Middle Ages, people used dill to defend against witchcraft and enchantments. More recently, people have used dill seeds and the parts of the plant that grow above the ground as medicine.Dill is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver problems, and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for urinary tract disorders including kidney disease and painful or difficult urination.Other uses for dill include treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders.Dill seed is sometimes applied to the mouth and throat for pain and swelling (inflammation).
In foods, dill is used as a culinary spice.
In manufacturing, dill oil is used as a fragrance in cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes.
1. May Help Reduce Menstrual Cramps
A study conducted by the Department of Biostatistics and Demography at Khon Kaen University in Thailand looked at dill’s effects among students with primary dysmenorrhoea, also known as painful periods or menstrual cramps, that were in their late teens or early 20s. Interventions included 12 different herbal medicines: dill, chamomile, cinnamon, rose, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, guava, rhubarb, uzara, valerian and zataria, as well as five non-herbal supplements (fish oil, melatonin, vitamins B1 and E, and zinc sulphate) in a variety of formulations and doses. While the effects were not strong, some evidence of effectiveness for several supplements was clear in that they reduced some of the discomfort and pain associated with cramps, including dill.
2. Helps Reduce Depression
Depression is a big problem among so many, both adults and teens. Dill weed may actually work as a natural remedy for depression. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics aimed to investigate the antidepressant and analgesic properties of the aqueous extract of dill from the South of Morocco. Extract of the dill plant was administered to subjects and showed a significant antidepressant and analgesic effect when compared with the drug references (sertraline and tramadol). In addition, dill weed produces no adverse effects. Phytonutrient study of the aqueous extract of the dill plant showed benefits from the polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins it contains.
3. Lowers Cholesterole
Dill weed provides amazing cholesterol-lowering benefits. Through careful studies, it was determined that the effect of dill extract and dill tablets on lipid profile, liver enzymes, gene expression and enzymatic activity was positive in hamsters with high cholesterol. The subjects were randomly divided into six groups and received daily dosages of dill in its various forms. After one month, when compared with the group that did not receive the dill, the lipid profile, blood glucose and liver enzymes significantly decreased in all dill tablet or dill extract treated groups.
4. May Act as a Natural Bug Repellent
Dill weed has shown the ability to repel bugs, as shown in research published in the Journal of Food Protection. Twenty plant-derived oils were evaluated for their insecticidal activities. Responses varied with different species, plant oils and exposure time. Based on the 50 percent lethal dose values in the fumigant, dill oil induced the highest mortality, followed by yarrow and eucalyptus oil. Melaleuca and lemon-scented tea tree oils were also useful in repelling insects. Neroli birgard oil and citrus made the lineup as well as mugwort or common wormwood. These results indicate that dill oil, among others, may have the potential for development as agents to help protect stored grain from insects and mites — clearly a much better and safer choice than disease-making chemicals.
5. May Treat Epilepsy
Epilepsy is frightening to those that have it and their families. It’s a common neurological disorder characterized by unpredictable and episodic seizures. While there are many medications prescribed to help reduce the symptoms, such as seizure, most of these drugs cause unfavorable side effects. Third-world countries have been using plants to help with epilepsy for centuries. Researchers from all over the world have been studying many areas of this disorder — however, in this research published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, the aqueous extract of dill leaves was reviewed for its effects on treating convulsions and epilepsy. The evaluation defined the plant as having a traditional medical reputation for profound anticonvulsant activities, potentially working as a natural alternative treatment for epilepsy.
6. Provides a Source of Energy and Aids in Digestion through Beneficial Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are major sources of energy. Most diets contain a great deal of fatty acid in the form of triacylglycerol (esters with glycerol). Some of our dietary carbohydrates are converted to fat and stored as triacylglycerol in adipose tissue. Subsequently, the fatty acids from this fat are released to provide energy for various aerobic tissues. (6) The triacylglycerol (TAG) structure and distribution of fatty acids of seed oils determines the final physical properties of the oils and may affect digestion, absorption and metabolism, and physical and technological properties of TAGs. In a study conducted by Texas Southern University and Agilent Technologies, fixed oils from the fruits of dill, caraway, cumin, coriander, anise, carrot, celery, fennel and Khella, all from the Apiaceae family, were extracted at room temperature. Petroselinic acid was the major fatty acid in all samples ranging from 57 percent to 82 percent. This means that including dill in your diet on a regular basis may help you obtain some important fatty acids.
7. Contains Antimicrobial Effects
Dill has been investigated for its various antimicrobial effects. In research, the essential oil of dill weed has been shown to be effective against several bacteria strains, completely inhibiting the growth of Fusarium graminearum, a devastating disease of wheat and barley caused by the fungal plant pathogen, as well as being toxic to five other bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Another study found that dill extracts taken from seeds stored for 35 years also killed several fungal strains, such as the mold Aspergillus niger and the yeasts
Dill weed is part of the same family as parsley, cumin and the bay leaf. It’s native to the Mediterranean region and has been used since ancient Greek and Roman times as both a spice and a medicine. The name “dill” means to “calm or soothe,” and most likely originates from the plant’s known ability to calm troubled stomachs and colicky infants. Anethum graveolens, the scientific name for dill, is believed to have its beginnings in the Mediterranean region. The plant has a long and ancient history in many countries as a culinary and medicinal herb. The earliest known record of dill as a medicinal herb was found in Egypt 5,000 years ago, when the plant was referred to as a “soothing medicine.” Around 3,000 B.C.E., the Babylonians were known to have grown dill in their gardens. Dill was also a widely used and familiar plant in Greek culture. Dill scented oil was burned in Greek homes, and the plant’s essential oil was used to make wine. Dioscorides, a Greek doctor and surgeon, believed that dill seeds were used to help heal wounded soldiers. Gladiators were fed meals covered with dill with the hope that the herb would grant them valor and courage. Pliny, a historical author of the book “Naturalis Historia,” included information about dill in the sections regarding exotic plants and spices. Dill seeds have often been called “meetinghouse seeds” because they were chewed during long church services to keep members awake or kids quiet. The seeds were also chewed in order to freshen the breath and tone down a growling stomach. Dill has long been a sought-after herb. In fact, in some cultures it was taxed or tithed. Edward I of England, who did not have enough money to repair the London Bridge, imposed a tax on dill and other spices that ships brought into the harbor to help raise the needed funds. During the 17th century, dill became a popular herb in England, and it could be found in many gardens. The plant most likely arrived in America by way of early settlers. John Winthrop, who led a group of English Puritans to the New World, was known to have grown dill in his garden. Dill grows up to 40–60 centimeters (16–24 inches), with slender, hollow stems that alternate and finely divided, very soft, delicate leaves that are usually 10–20 centimeters (3.9–7.9 inches) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are one to two millimeters (0.039–0.079 inches) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than one millimeter (0.039 inches) broad but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 centimeters (0.79–3.54 inches) in diameter. The seeds are four to five millimeters (0.16–0.20 inches) long, one millimeter (0.039 inches) thick and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.