Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum. Dill grows up to 40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender hollow stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.54 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. The seeds are viable for three to ten years.
The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen. The seed heads are placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm, dry place for a week. The seeds then separate from the stems easily for storage in an airtight container.
Like caraway, the fernlike leaves of dill are aromatic and are used to flavor many foods such as gravlax (cured salmon) and other fish dishes, borscht and other soups, as well as pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is best when used fresh as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried. However, freeze-dried dill leaves retain their flavor relatively well for a few months.
Dill seed, having a flavor similar to caraway but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed, is used as a spice. Dill essential oil is extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant. The oil from the seeds is distilled and used in the manufacturing of soaps. Dill is the eponymous ingredient in dill pickles: cucumbers preserved in salty brine and/or vinegar.
In Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Romania dill is one of the most popular herbs used in the kitchen along with parsley. Fresh, finely cut dill leaves are used as topping in soups, especially the hot red borsht and the cold borsht mixed with curds, kefir, yoghurt, or sour cream, which is served during hot summer weather and is called okroshka. It is also popular in summer to drink fermented milk (curds, kefir, yoghurt, or buttermilk) mixed with dill (and sometimes other herbs).
In India, dill is known as shepu (शेपू) in Marathi and Konkani, savaa in Hindi or soa in Punjabi. In Telugu, it is called Soa-kura (for herb greens). It is also called sabbasige soppu(ಸಬ್ಬಸಿಗೆ ಸೊಪ್ಪು) in Kannada. In Tamil it is known as sada kuppi(சதகுப்பி). In Malayalam, it is ചതകുപ്പ (chathakuppa) or ശതകുപ്പ (sathakuppa). In Sanskrit, this herb is calledshatapushpa. In Gujarati, it is known as suva(સૂવા). In India, dill is prepared in the manner of yellow moong dal as a main-course dish. It is considered to have very good antigas properties,so it is used as mukhwas, or an after-meal digestive. It is also traditionally given to mothers immediately after childbirth. In the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, a smaller amount of fresh dill is cooked along with cut potatoes and fresh fenugreek leaves (Hindi आलू-मेथी-सोया). In Manipur, dill, locally known as pakhon, is an essential ingredient ofchagem pomba – a traditional Manipuri dish made with fermented soybean and rice. In Sri Lanka dill is known in Sinhala as “asamodagam” (අසමෝදගම්).
In Arab countries, dill seed, called ain jaradeh (grasshopper’s eye), is used as a spice in cold dishes such as fattoush and pickles. In Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, dill is called shibint and is used mostly in fish dishes. In Egypt, dillweed is commonly used to flavor cabbage dishes, including mahshi koronb (stuffed cabbage leaves). In Israel, dill seed is used to spice in salads and also to flavor omelette alongside parsley.
What is Dill Essential Oil?
Dill oil is an essential oil extracted from the seeds or leaves/stems (dillweed) of the Dill plant. It can be used with water to create dill water. Also known as Indian Dill, originally from Southwest Asia, Dill is an annual or biennial herb that grows up to 1 meter (3 feet). It has green feathery leaves and umbels of small yellow flowers, followed by tiny compressed seeds.
It was popular with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who called it “Anethon” from which the botanical name was derived. The common name comes from the Anglo-Saxon dylle or dylla, which then changed to dill. The word means ‘to lull’ – referring to its soothing properties. In the Middle Ages it was used as a charm against witchcraft. From 812 onwards, when Charlemagne, Emperor of France, ordered the extensive cultivation of this herb, it has been widely used, especially as a culinary herb.
Dill essential oil is known for its grass-like smell and its pale yellow color, with a watery viscosity. Dill essential oil us used for the relief of flatulence, especially in babies.
Chemical Composition Dill Essential Oil
Dill Essential Oil is extracted through steam distillation of dried seeds and the whole plant of dill. The proportion of the chemical constituents for all essential oils mainly depends upon the topography, seasons and various other attributes of its nativity. Dill is cultivated all over the world for its valuable benefits. Results of various researches state that Dill seed oil contains carvone, d-limonene, α-phellandrene, dihydrocarvone, eugenol, β-phellandrene, α-pinene, anethole, dillapiole, myristicin, carveol, arginine, β-caryophyllene, apiole, and others.
Uses and Benefits of Dill Essential Oil
Dill essential oil fights against inflammation and allergies. People with oral inflammation in the throat and mouth are administered with this oil. Monoterpenes and flavonoids help in cleansing the respiratory system in case of allergies. Add 2 drops of Dill oil in steam inhalation and inhaling this medicated aroma helps in alleviating respiratory infections and allergies. Aggravated kapha dosha is responsible for causing inflammation due to excess water deposits, salt, uric acid and other toxic substances in the system. Dill essential oil has the efficiency to reduce increased kapha dosha and its anti-histamine properties helps one in getting rid of inflammation and other infections associated with it. Massage the inflamed and painful parts with 2 drops of Dill oil mixed with 1 ml olive oil for lessening pain, swelling and inflammation.
Spasms can be very irritating and in extreme cases, can even be fatal. Spasms are cases of unwanted and abnormal contractions, either in the respiratory tracts, intestines, muscles, or nerves. These spasms may result in non-stop coughs, hiccups, cramps, muscle pulls, convulsions, or epileptic attacks. In extreme cases, a patient may have acute pain in the intestines or may run out of breath in cases of coughs and hiccups and may even collapse. Such attacks of spasms can be pacified with the help of dill essential oil. It has a relaxing effect on nerves, muscles, intestines and the respiratory system and pacifies spasmodic attacks, providing quick relief.
A recent study on Dill seeds have been proved to possess antihyperlipidaemic and antihypercholesterolaemic effects. It fights against hyperlipidemia that describes a condition of elevated levels of lipid formation and hyper cholesterol, which is nothing but increased cholesterol level in the body. Maintaining the level of the fat soluble molecules called lipids and cholesterol in healthy standards yields fitness at all ages especially when you grow older. Massage your body with 6 drops of Dill essential oil blended with 3 ml of coconut oil, followed by hot bath where 2 drops of Dill oil is added to bathing water as well. This aids in decreasing the level of cholesterol and enables to feel light and fit.
Dill essential oil is also known for its disinfectant properties. Added in food items, it protects them from getting spoiled from infection by microbes. When consumed, it cures microbial infection in the colon, urinary tract, kidneys, and genitals. Finally, when applied externally, it protects the skin and wounds from infections and helps them heal quickly. It can be used in a diluted form for applying on the scalp to protect hair from various infections and even lice. A recent research on ‘Seasonal differences in essential oil composition on Dill essential oil and Parsley essential oil’ has proven that the antimicrobial compounds like α-pinene, cineole and limonene in Dill essential oil have been proved effective against food-borne pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter jejun. Dill seed oil fights best against the microbes Aspergillus niger and the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. Mix 2 drops of Dill essential oil with 1 ml of sesame oil and gently massage on the stomach and abdomen for treating dysentery, diarrhea, flatulence, hiccups and constipation. In case of infant use, blend 1 drop of Dill essential oil with 2 ml of sesame oil and massage it gently on their tummy in slow circular movements. You can also add 1 to 2 drops of Dill essential oil in warm bathing water or in diffuser for relieving from digestive disorders.
Dill seeds have been in use as a remedy to facilitate digestion for thousands of years. This digestive property of dill seeds comes from its essential oils. Dill essential oil promotes digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices like gastric juices, acids and bile in the stomach. Its aroma also stimulates the salivary glands and thus aids in the primary digestion of the food in the mouth. Lastly, it stimulates the peristaltic movement of the intestines and helps the ingested food to advance through them, thereby facilitating digestion and preventing conditions like constipation and piles.
Dill essential oil can efficiently handle gas trouble. β-phellandrene, α-pinene and other constituents of Dill essential oil attribute to the carminative property of the oil that helps in preventing the formation of gas in your intestines as well as aid in the expulsion of gas. Moreover, it gives the gases a safe downward passage by relaxing the muscles in the abdominal region.
A galactogogue is a substance or an agent that increases the formation of milk in the breasts. It also enhances the quality of the milk. This property is very helpful for lactating mothers and the baby’s overall health. Dill essential oil is a well known Galactogogue. Apart from increasing milk secretion, it also helps babies in another way. Babies who are fed on their mother’s milk often suffer from flatulence, indigestion and gas. The carminative and digestive properties of dill essential oil are absorbed in the milk and can indirectly help the baby get rid of such problems.
Being a stomachic means being an agent that keeps the stomach healthy, toned and functioning properly; dill essential oil does exactly that. It keeps the stomach in proper shape, regulates the secretion of digestive juices and bile into it, keeps it safe from infections and also helps the healing process of ulcers or wounds, if any, in the stomach.
Dill essential oil acts as a vulnerary by promoting the quick healing of wounds, either external or internal, and protecting them from infections.
Dill essential oil brings about sweating, thereby creating a feeling of lightness. This also helps to remove excess water, salt and toxic substances from the body, the lowering of blood pressure, a reduction of swelling and the protection of the skin’s overall health. Perspiration, except when it is abnormally heavy, is seen as a sign of good health.
Dill essential oil has beneficial sedating and calming effects on the nerves and the brain, making a person feel relaxed and satisfied. The soothing, calming and refreshing effects of flavonoids and group B vitamins in Dill seed oil helps in regulating the secretion of hormones and enzymes in our body that pacifies the nervous system. It is generally recommended for people suffering from insomnia and nervous disorders. It is useful for getting rid of anxiety, tension, anger, depression and even hypertension. It also helps you to have a good night’s sleep at the end of the day. Placing cold to warm bags immersed in water with Dill seeds allowed to soak for few minutes, on closed eyelids will help you in experiencing a calming effect. You can also add 2 drops of Dill essential oil every night in your diffuser, burner or vaporizer for promoting peaceful sleep throughout the night.
Blending for Dill Essential Oil
Dill essential oil blends well with Lime, Lemon, Orange and other citrus oils as well as Bergamot, Caraway and Nutmeg essential oils.
Precautions and Side Effects of Dill Essential Oil
Dill is LIKELY SAFE when consumed as a food. Dill is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth as a medicine.
When applied to the skin, dill can sometimes cause skin irritation. Fresh dill juice can also cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun. This might put you at greater risk for sunburns and skin cancer. Avoid sunlight. Wear sunblock and protective clothing outside, especially if you are light-skinned.
People with epilepsy should NOT use Dill Essential Oil.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use dill as a medicine if you are pregnant. Dill seed can start menstruation and that might lead to a miscarriage. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking dill as a medicine if you are breast-feeding. It’s best to stick to food amounts.
Allergy to plants in the carrot family: Dill may cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to plants in the carrot family. Some of these include asafoetida, caraway, celery, coriander, and fennel.
Diabetes: Dill extract might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use dill extract in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Surgery: Dill extract might lower blood sugar. There is concern that using dill extract might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking dill extract at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. People with epilepsy should NOT use Dill Essential Oil.
Inspiration for Dill Essential Oil
Greek flavor finishing salt: With a fork, mix 1/8 cup sea salt with 3 drops Lemon and 2 drops Dill essential oils on a plate. Adjust seasoning to taste. Let dry then store in an air tight glass container.
Dill Veggie Dip: Mix; 1 cup Mayonnaise, 1/4 cup Sour Cream, 1-2 drops Lemon essential oil, 1-2 drops Dill essential oil, 1 Tbs chopped, fresh, parsley and 1 tsp Dijon Mustard. Serve w/ fresh veggies.
Sugar Craving Fighter: Fill roller bottle 1/3 with Dill essential oil, fill the rest of the way w/ carrier oil. Apply to wrists to help fight sugar cravings.