Dill (Anethum graveolens) Herb Profile

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Dill (Anethum graveolens) Herb Profile

Dill has been around for many years, and it can be used for various purposes besides flavoring pickles. Dill seed, dill oil, and fresh dill are typically used by the food industry.

The herb is used to add flavor to snacks, condiments, and baked goods. Because of the aroma, the fragrance industry uses dill to produce creams, lotions, soaps, and detergents. Even the smallest sprouts of the plant produce a pleasant aroma.

A feathery blue-green herb with yellow flowers and powerful flavor, dill is an annual herb that tends to replant itself.

It is a Mediterranean herb in the parsley family. It also spreads widely rather easily. Growing dill at home requires little effort.

A good source of calcium, manganese, and iron, dill has antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Anethum graveolens has other benefits as well. Some of these are boosting digestion, providing relief from dysentery, diarrhea, hiccups, insomnia, menstrual disorders, and cancers, and protecting you from bone degradation.

Dill Health Benefits

Some of the health benefits of dill have already been mentioned, but the following gives more details concerning its amazing health benefits.

1. Reduces Menstrual Cramps

Studies conducted among various women demonstrated that using dill could reduce menstrual cramps.  The flavonoids in the plant’s secret hormones which regulate the menstrual process. [R]

2. Reduces Depression

Depression seems to be a growing problem among many people. A study was conducted that proved that dill contains antidepressant properties. [R]

It was given to several subjects who reported improvement with their depression symptoms. No negative side effects were reported when Anethum graveolens was used for this purpose.

3. Natural Bug Repellant

Studies were conducted on several dill plants. Each proved to be a natural bug repellant as bugs were not attracted to the plants. [R]

We can safely say that dill would be a much safer bug repellant than those which contain harsh chemicals.

4. Lowers Cholesterol

Two groups of people participated in a study. One group of people was given dill supplements, and the other group was not. [R]

The group of people who took the supplements had lower cholesterol levels than those who did not use it.

5. Treats Epilepsy

Epilepsy is frightening for those who must deal with it. Many of the medications prescribed have harmful side effects.

However, people in third-world countries have used the extract from dill leaves to treat epilepsy and have reported the treatment successful. [R]

6. Antimicrobial Effects

Dill weed has been proven effective against certain strains of bacteria, completely killing the growth of some.  Studies have shown that dill has killed several strains of fungus as well.

7. Protects Against Free Radicals

Dill has monoterpene effects. This helps antioxidants to attach to oxidized molecules to prevent further damage to the body. [R]

The antioxidant effects of the plant are as effective as those of ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, and quercetin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that fight radical damage.

8. Treats Insomnia

The essential oil of dill acts as a sedative promoting healthy sleep habits. Some of the enzymes in dill have calming and relaxing effects. [R]

9. Promotes Bone Health

Dill has strong calcium content to promote healthy maintenance of bone growth. This gives people protection against bone density loss as aging occurs preventing osteoporosis. [R]

10.  Manages Diabetes

Dill has often been associated with the management of insulin levels. [R]

Further research needs to be conducted, but there is evidence that dill reduces the fluctuation of serum lipids and insulin levels.

11. Prevents Excess Gas

Since dill is a carminative, it can prevent excess gas which would protect people from embarrassment. [R]

Not only is excess gas embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous if it presses on the organs of the chest cavity.

12. Stops Hiccups

Hiccups often occur because of trapped gas moving through the food pipe. Allergies, hypersensitivity, and hyperactivity are some other common causes of hiccups.

Dill can alleviate all these issues. As a carminative, it expels gases, and as a sedative, it can calm hiccups causes by allergies, hypersensitivity, and hyperactivity.

13.  Boosts Immunity

Because Anethum graveolens has antimicrobial properties, it can stop the spread of infections and prevent new ones from occurring. [R]

This can help bodily infections as well as those caused by cuts and wounds.

14.  Prevent and Stop Diarrhea

Diarrhea is usually caused by indigestion and microbial activity. Dill aids digestion and has antimicrobial properties so it can prevent and stop diarrhea. [R]

The flavonoids in the oils are used to treat diarrhea.

15. Relieves the Pain of Arthritis

Since dill has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to relieve the pain of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. [R]

Reportedly, Anethum graveolens has been used for centuries to treat anti-inflammatory conditions.

16. Treats Respiratory Disorders

Kaempferol, a flavonoid in dill, serves antihistamine and decongestant purposes. It clears congestion in the respiratory system due to allergies, coughing, and histamines. [R]

17. Aids Oral Health

Dill seeds are said to be great for breath freshening. The essential oils contain germicides, antioxidants, and disinfectants that will protect your teeth and gums from free radicals. [R]

18. Cancer Prevention

Because monoterpenes in dill are chemo-preventive, they activate enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and free radicals. This protects your body from cancer.  [R]

19. Diuretic Properties

Anethum graveolens can increase urination to remove toxins, excess water, and excess sodium from the body.

20. Enhances Libido

Due to the arginine in dill, it enhances libido which can be healthy for married couples. If your sex drive has been low, this herb can help you with this issue.

21. Relieves Dysentery

Although dysentery is nearly the same as diarrhea, it is a much more complex syndrome.

It affects a much larger portion of the digestive tract and is associated with blood loss. The root cause is usually a parasite or microbe.

Dill, with its antimicrobial properties, kills parasites relieving a person of dysentery. [R]

How to Use Dill

Dill is versatile, so, it can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Some of the foods it can be added to are scrambled eggs, soups, potatoes, cream cheese, and salads.

Of course, there are other dishes in which it can be used.

1. Sauces and Soups

The fresh leaves can be added to both soups and sauces for additional flavor. When dill leaves are dried, much of the flavor is lost. The seeds can also be added to sauces and soups as well.

2. Salads and Salad Dressings

For a more flavorful salad, add some of the leaves or seeds to your salad. The seeds can be added to a dressing. The flowers can contribute to a wonderful, tasty salad.

Dill seeds can be used to make dill vinegar as well.

3. Vegetables

Fresh dill leaves can be added to water when boiling potatoes. Dill seeds can be added to raw or cooked vegetables for additional seasoning.

4. Breads and Salmon Cakes

The seeds can be sprinkled on various breads. Salmon cakes can be prepared with the seeds or fresh leaves.

5. Dips

This amazing herb can be combined with fresh yogurt and cucumbers for a dip with a cool flavor.

6. Fish Dishes

Use the fresh leaves or seeds when cooking and preparing most fish — particularly trout. Dill gives fish a wonderful flavor.

7. Decorations

The herb can be used as a garnish for sandwiches or other dishes. The flowers can be used for a floral arrangement or decoration.

8. Fragrance

Dill oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics.

9. Alcohol Drinks

Some people have used dill in vodka and martinis. Many people who found it too overpowering for their food, found it a perfect addition to their drinks.

10. Companion for Other Herbs

Dill is often used with other herbs to bring out the other flavors that one might normally miss. If it is not completely cooked when used with the other herbs, it will be overpowering.

11. Add to Lemon

Because Anethum graveolens has a similar citrus flavor to that of lemons, adding it to lemon water to other dishes that require the use of lemons will enhance the flavor.

Use it in small amounts at first when adding to lemon.

12. Add to Beets

Adding dill to beets or beet soup can spice up the flavor of the dish. Red onion and clove added to the mix will provide a variety of flavor.

13. Make Your Own Pickles

When someone mentions dill, most people automatically think of pickles. If you wish to make your own pickles, cut 8 small cucumbers into 1-inch slices.

Combine 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, and 2 teaspoons of salt into a saucepan.

Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the liquid over your cucumbers and add 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb.  Refrigerate the pickles at least an hour before serving.

14. Rice Dishes

Dill can be added along with kale to most rice dishes to enhance the flavor of rice.

15. Dill Capsules

The herb is available in capsule form to use for health issues. For quick, effective relief for digestive issues, diarrhea, and menstrual cramps, the capsules would be an idea.

They can also be taken to regulate cholesterol, relieve respiratory infections, and increase libido.

16. Bug Repellant

To use Anethum graveolens as a bug repellant, rub the oil onto your skin when you are going to be outdoors for a prolonged period.

The leaves can also be placed around items in your garden to be free from bug infestation.

17. Tea

Drinking dill tea can provide immediate relief from nausea or indigestion.

The tea can also provide a relaxing effect as well as relief from nasal congestion. These effects are wonderful for someone with anxiety issues.

To prepare dill tea, you can use the fresh leaves or seeds.

When you boil your water, place 2 teaspoons of mashed dill seeds per one cup of water into the kettle.

Allow the seeds to steep in the water for at least ten minutes. Remove the seeds before drinking.

If you are using the leaves, put about three sprigs into the water to steep.

18. Aromatic Use

The essential oils can be used in a diffuser for aromatic purposes. Inhaling the aroma can bring relief to congestion and anxiety as well as providing a fresh aroma to the room.

Caution/Side Effects

Research indicates that dill is mostly safe for use. There are a few cases in which a person must proceed with caution or avoid use.

1. Allergic Reactions

People who are allergic to carrots are often allergic to Anethum graveolens. Some of the plants in the carrot family are asafoetida, caraway, celery, coriander, and fennel.

Allergic reactions such as rash, hives, or anaphylactic shock could occur. If you have food allergies, consult a doctor before use.

2. Vomiting

In some cases, dill has been known to induce vomiting. If this occurs, you should discontinue using this herb.

3. Sensitivity to Sunlight

There have been cases in which dill made some people sensitive to sunlight. This can raise your risk for sunburns or skin cancer.

Avoid sunlight if possible. If you do go out in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunblock, especially if you have a naturally pale complexion.

4. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Dill has been known to start menstruation, therefore, there is a possibility of miscarriage when using more than food safe amounts of this herb.

Since there is not enough research available to know of the risks of taking Anethum graveolens in medicinal amounts while breastfeeding, it is best to only consume it in food-safe amounts.

5. Diabetes

Dill has been known to lower blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully if you are a diabetic and consume more than food safe amounts of dill.

6. Surgery

Since there is a risk of Anethum graveolens lowering blood sugar levels, you should stop using it at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. Inform your doctor that you use dill.

Where to Buy

Dill comes in a variety of forms.

You should be able to purchase the fresh leaves and seeds at most supermarkets. The seeds and capsules can be purchased at most health food stores.

If you wish to purchase dill online, the dried her, seeds, and capsules can be purchased on Amazon.

Image via Flickr

Alecia Ragoon

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