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Dill Health Benefits

Dill or dill weed belongs to the same family as parsley, bay leaf and cumin. It originated from the Mediterranean region and has been used to flavor foods and to treat various ailments since ancient times. Dill contains substantial amounts of iron, manganese and calcium. It also contains flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Information & Facts:

  • The fresh or dried leaves, seed and upper stem of dill are used for various medicinal purposes.
  • The flowers of the dill plant comprise of several rayed umbels and the petals are curved inwards at the tip.
  • The fruit is oval in shape, flat and has a rib on the back.
  • The dill plant grows to a height of 40 to 120cm. The dark green stem is round and erect with white stripes.
  • The double leaves of dill weed are feathery with white tips and deep groves on the upper area.
  • Although native to the Mediterranean region, dill is cultivated across Europe and America.
  • Dill is used to treat digestive issues, respiratory conditions, liver problems, gall bladder disorders, kidney disease and urinary tract diseases. It may also be used to alleviate menstrual problems, infections, fevers and sleep disorders.
  • The seeds of dill may be applied to the mouth to relieve inflammation of the throat.
  • Dill may be added to food as a spice.
  • The oil extracted from dill is used in soaps and cosmetics.

The seeds, oil and leaves of dill have various health benefits.

Dill Seeds:

  • Dill seeds are rich in flavonoids and oils such as carvone and limonene which are known for their medicinal properties.
  • The seeds also contain substantial amounts of calcium, and regular intake of dill seeds may help to boost bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Due to their anti-bacterial nature, dill seeds prevent and restrict the growth of various types of bacteria.
  • You can chew on dill seeds to get rid of the problem of bad breath.
  • Dill seeds work well as an appetizer and is therefore commonly used in cooking.
  • Dill seeds are helpful in treating respiratory disorders such as influenza, bronchitis and colds. You can mix dill seeds with honey and consume thrice every day for relief from respiratory problems.

Dill Oil:

  • Dill oil has disinfectant properties and may be added to foods to protect them from infections. The oil when consumed through food helps to relieve infections in the urinary tract, kidneys, digestive tract and genitals. It can also be applied topically to treat skin infections and wounds. It may be used on the scalp to get rid of lice and other infectious problems.
  • The essential oil of dill is used to encourage milk production in nursing mothers.
  • Dill oil may be used in combination with chamomile to alleviate symptoms of ADHD in children.  
  • Dill essential oil acts like a mild sedative and has a calming effect on the brain. It is used to relieve anxiety, anger and depression. It also helps to induce sleep at night.

Dill Leaves:

  • Dill contains monoterpene which helps to protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • One of the most important nutrition benefits of dill leaves is its positive effect on blood sugar levels. Dill contains eugenol, an essential oil which is known to lower blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.
  • Dill can be used as an effective remedy for an upset stomach. Chopped dill may be added to low fat unflavored yogurt and consumed. You can also prepare a dill tea and drink to soothe the stomach.
  • Dill leaves help to promote menstrual flow. You can prepare a decoction of fresh dill leaves, combine with a small amount of parsley juice and drink daily.
  • Dill leaves may be used to treat boils. Prepare a paste of fresh dill leaves, add a pinch of turmeric powder and apply to the affected area. This helps to ripen the boils and also encourages healing.
  • Boiling dill leaves in sesame oil and applying to the joints helps to alleviate pain and swelling.

Dill pickle is a popular addition to meals and snacks. It is made by marinating a special type of cucumber in dill and vinegar. These pickles are low in calories and are beneficial to health in some ways.

Dill Pickles:

  • Dill pickles are low in calories and hence ideal in weight loss diets. There are only 5 calories and no fat at all in 28grams of dill pickles. However, they may contain large amounts of sodium.
  • The cucumbers which are used to make dill pickles contain vitamin C and other nutrients which are beneficial for the skin. Vitamin C also strengthens the immune system and improves healing of wounds.
  • Since dill aids in digestion, eating dill pickles may help to prevent flatulence, abdominal pain and bad breath.
  • Dill pickles also contain carotenoids which fight free radicals and protect the cells from damage.

Dill For Babies:

Dill contains certain compounds which help to fight bacteria in the digestive tract and have a relaxing effect on the muscles of the gastrointestinal system. For this reason, dill was used as a remedy for baby colic as early as the mid-19th century. Today dill is used along with other beneficial herbs such as ginger and chamomile to relieve digestive problems in infants. Some herbalists also recommend dill tea and seeds for babies. You can make dill tea by adding one teaspoon of dill seeds to boiling water. Let it cool to room temperature and then administer to the infant. The dosage is usually between 2 to 10 ml depending on the baby’s weight. Dill seeds or a decoction made with fresh dill leaves may be mixed with baby feed to prevent digestive problems and induce better sleep. However, it is necessary to consult your pediatrician before introducing any new food or ingredient to your baby’s diet.

Other Nutritional Benefits:

Some of the additional nutritional benefits of dill include;

  • Fresh dill provides zinc, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C which are all beneficial for breastfeeding mothers. Zinc helps to ensure proper release of prolactin, the hormone which regulates milk production in the breasts. A healthy iron intake is necessary after pregnancy because of the blood loss and flow of nutrients to the developing baby. Vitamin A aids in body repair while vitamin C helps to maintain good health of the skin. Both these functions are necessary since the body undergoes significant changes during pregnancy.
  • Dill does not contain any cholesterol and is low in calories. It is a good addition to weight loss diets because it contains vitamins and dietary fibers which further help to bring down the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Dill is beneficial for those who suffer from intestinal spasms, gas and indigestion.

Side Effects Of Dill

Dill is not known to cause any adverse effects on health when used in proper doses. Contact with the juice of freshly harvested dill plant may lead to photodermatosis in some cases.
Submitted on January 16, 2014