Herb: Dill


Latin name: Anethum graveolens


Synonyms: Anethum sowa, Peucedanum graveolens


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Dill:

Dill has a very long history of herbal use going back more than 2,000 years. The seeds are a common and very effective household remedy for a wide range of digestive problems. An infusion is especially efficacious in treating gripe in babies and flatulence in young children. The seed is aromatic, carminative, mildly diuretic, galactogogue, stimulant and stomachic. It is also used in the form of an extracted essential oil. Used either in an infusion, or by eating the seed whole, the essential oil in the seed relieves intestinal spasms and griping, helping to settle colic. Chewing the seed improves bad breath. Dill is also a useful addition to cough, cold and flu remedies, it can be used with antispasmodics such as Viburnum opulus to relieve period pains. Dill will also help to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers and will then be taken by the baby in the milk to help prevent colic.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
75 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
April
to July


Scent:
Scented
Annual

Habitat of the herb:

Fields, waste places etc in the Mediterranean.

Edible parts of Dill:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads etc. The leaves lose their flavour if the are cooked for any length of time and so are best used raw or added to cooked dishes only a few minutes before the cooking is complete. The leaves can be harvested at any time the plant is growing, but are best just before the plant flowers. Per 100g, the plant contains 253 calories, 7.2g water, 20g protein, 4.4g fat, 55.8g carbohydrate, 11.9g fibre, 12.6g ash, 1784mg calcium, 543mg phosphorus, 48.8mg iron, 451mg magnesium, 208mg sodium, 3,308mg potassium, 3.3mg zinc, 0.42mg thiamine, 0.28mg riboflavin, 2.8mg niacin and 1.5mg vitamin B6. Seed - raw or cooked. Very pungent and bitter in taste. It is used as a flavouring in salads, preserves etc, its chief uses being perhaps in making dill vinegar and as a flavouring in pickled gherkins. It can also be sprouted and used in breads, soups and salad dressings. Per 100g, the seed contains 305 calories, 7.7g water, 14.5g fat (0.73g saturated, 124mg phytosterol and no cholesterol), 55.2g carbohydrate, 21g fibre, 6.7g ash, 1,516mg calcium, 277mg phosphorus, 16.3mg iron, 256mg magnesium, 20mg sodium, 1,186mg potassium, 5.2mg zinc, 53IU vitamin A, 0.42mg thiamine and 0.28mg riboflavin. An essential oil from the seed is used as a flavouring in the food industry. A tea is made from the leaves and/or the seeds.

Other uses of the herb:

The seed contains up to 4% essential oils. It is used in perfuming soaps, medicines and as a food flavouring. Some compounds of dill (d-carvone is mentioned as one of them), when added to insecticides, have greatly increased the effectiveness of the insecticides.

Propagation of Dill:

Seed - sow April to early summer in situ and only just cover. The seed germinates in 2 weeks if the soil is warm. A regular supply of leaves can be obtained if successional sowings are made from May to the end of June. Autumn sowings can succeed if the winters are mild. Dill is very intolerant of root disturbance and should not be transplanted because it will then quickly run to seed.

Cultivation of the herb:

Fields, waste places etc in the Mediterranean.

Known hazards of Anethum graveolens:

Dill is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine. There are also reports that dill can cause photosensitivity and or dermatitis in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.