Dill (Anthum graveolens)
Dill is a tall, lacy herb best known for use in pickling cucumbers. It is also used in sauces, desserts and other culinary delights. Its tangy flavor is a favorite the world over. Native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia, the herb has spread in many places around the world and become naturalized. The plant blooms umbels of tiny yellow flowers in early summer. It self-sows easily.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Dill has been used for generations as a herbal remedy to treat flatulence and colic. It is safe enough for children to take for these ailments. It aids the digestion of foods, and is a relief for abdominal cramping, heartburn and indigestion. It is useful to increase the appetite, for hiccups and liver and gall bladder complaints. It also aids in milk production for nursing mothers. It encourages enzyme formation in the body. It has been used to treat insomnia, headache and infection. Some recommend this herb to relieve fever, ulcers, uterine pain, gonorrhea and obesity.
Externally Dill seeds can freshen the breath when chewed. Poultices can be applied to skin cysts. It is also used for hemorrhoids, as a headwash for lice and to address eye problems.
Other Uses Dill is a well-known culinary herb used in pickling, baking and fine cooking. The seeds are also used to flavor vermouth. Roasted seeds were once used as a coffee substitute. It is also used in veterinary medicine to treat digestive problems, fever and to increase milk production in livestock. Growing the herb attracts beneficial insects to the garden. It may also be useful in getting rid of fruit flies. The oil from the plant is used in soap, detergent, as a food flavoring and in pharmaceuticals.
Seeds, leaves, oil Seeds are used both medicinally and to season food. An oil is distilled from the seeds, and the leaves are sometimes used as well.
There are no known drug interactions or side effects to taking dill. However, people on a low-salt diet should avoid because of its high sodium content. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction.
Preparation and Dosage
A herbal remedy is commonly taken as an infusion, as dill water, powdered seeds or oil. An infusion can easily be made by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of slightly crushed seeds in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain before drinking. This infusion can be taken before meals. If you are using a tincture, take 1 to 2 ml of the remedy three times per day.