Dill

dill in flower

Anethum graveolens-Dill

Family: Apiaceae or Umbelliferae

Other names: Aneto, Aneton, Dill Weed, Dill Seed, Dilly, Garden Dill,

Dill; Anethum graveolenshas a very long history of  herbal use as a medicinal herb going back more than 2,000 years. The seeds are a common and very effective household remedy for a wide range of digestive problems and this herb may well be one of the first that any of us take in our lives as it is a common part of colic and gripe remedies for babies. 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. The seed is aromatic, carminative, mildly diuretic, galactogogue, stimulant and stomachic. It is also used as a culinary pot herb and as a magickal herb. 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.

hazardsmallDill is said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine. There are also reports that dill can cause photosensitivit and or dermatitis in some people. Avoid dill oil during pregnancy.

Habitat: W. Asia. Naturalized in Europe in the Mediterranean. Fields, waste places etc in the Mediterranean.

dill in flower

Description of Dill:

Anethum graveolens is a ANNUAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower from Apr to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. Plant needs full sun. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation of Dill:

An easily grown plant, it prefers a moderately rich loose soil and full sun[. Requires a well-drained soil and shelter from the wind. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.3 to 7.8. Dill is a commonly cultivated herb, especially in warm temperate and tropical zones. It is grown mainly for its edible leaves and seeds, though it is also used medicinally. There are many named varieties. ‘Bouquet’ is an American cultivar that has a prolific production of seeds. The sub-species A. graveolens sowa from India has a slightly different flavour to the type species. The plant quickly runs to seed in dry weather. It often self-sows when growing in a suitable position. A good companion for corn and cabbages, also in moderation for cucumbers, lettuce and onions, but it inhibits the growth of carrots. Dill reduces a carrot crop if it is grown to maturity near them. However, the young plant will help to deter carrot root fly. The flowers are very attractive to bees.

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.

Collection : The seeds should be collected when fully ripe, that is when they have turned brown. They should be spread out to dry, not in artificial heat.

Culinary uses of Dill:

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

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. It is widely used in northern European cooking in sauces for both meat and fish. Potatoes cooked in dill are delicious and have the benefit of requiring less salt to make them flavoursome. 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,

 Composition:

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Leaves (Fresh weight)

  • 253 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 7.2%
  • Protein: 20g; Fat: 4.4g; Carbohydrate: 55.8g; Fibre: 11.9g; Ash: 12.6g;
  • Minerals – Calcium: 1784mg; Phosphorus: 543mg; Iron: 48.8mg; Magnesium: 451mg; Sodium: 208mg; Potassium: 3308mg; Zinc: 3.3mg;
  • Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.42mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.28mg; Niacin: 2.8mg; B6: 1.5mg; C: 0mg;
dill_Anethum_graveolensMedicinal uses of Dill:

Actions : Carminative, aromatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, galactogogue.

Parts Used: Seeds.

Indications :

Dill is an excellent remedy for flatulence and the colic that is sometimes associated with it. This is the herb of choice in the colic of children. It will stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers, glactogogue. Chewing the seeds will help clear bad breath, halitosis.

King’s Dispensatory describes it thus: Carminative and stomachic and used in the preparation of dill-water. The natives of India use the fruit largely in medicine and cookery. Flatulent colic and singultus, when due to disordered digestion, are relieved by the administration of dill-water or the oil of dill; the former in 1 or 2 drachm doses, the latter in from 2 to 5 drop dosses on sugar. It possesses no advantages over the other aromatic seeds.

Preparation and dosage  of Dill:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the gently crushed seeds and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. For the treatment of flatulence take a cup before meals.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other uses:
dillEsoteric uses of Dill:

Money, protection, luck and lust. Used in love & protection charms. Effective at keeping away dark forces, useful for house blessing. Keeps the mind cognizant of the line between superstition and the realities of magick. Place seeds in muslin and hang in the shower to attract women. Use dill seeds in money spells. The scent of dill is said to stimulate lust. Add grains of dill seed to a bath before going on a date to make yourself irresistible.

The Chemistry:
Constituents :
  • Volatile oil, consisting mainly of carvone with dihydrocarvone, limonene, a- and b-phellandrene, eugenol, anethole, myristicin, carveole, x-pinene.
  • Flavonoids: kaempferol and its blucuronide, vicenin.
  • Coumarins such as scopoletin, esculetin, bergapten, umbelliferone.
  • Xanthone derivatives such as dillanoside
  • Miscellaneous; triterpenes, phenolic acids, protein, fixed oil.