Origin, Distribution and Composition
Dill is an annual or biennial herb. It has a smooth surface, finely
dissected leaves, small yellow flowers and elliptic, flattened fruits. The
single stalks grow to a height of 1 meter.
Dill was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Greeks covered their
heads with dill leaves to induce sleep. It was also considered a charm
against witchcraft in the Middle Ages and was burned to get rid of
thunderous clouds and sulphurous fumes.
Dill is native to the Mediterranean region, South Russia and Scandinavia.
It has been in cultivation for more than 2,000 years and is now grown
widely in Asia Minor, North Africa, India and in all other tropical
An analysis of Indian dill shows it to consist of moisture, mineral matter
and acid-insoluble ash. The seeds of the plant yield an essential oil
known as dill oil. The herb yields essential oil with high proportion of
Healing Power and Curative Properties
Dill leaves are stimulant. They are useful in increasing secretion and
discharge of urine and in counteracting spasmodic disorders. They are a
soothing medicine and help improve the functioning of the stomach.
Eating cooked dill regularly aids digestion and prevents constipation. The
herb is specially useful for children. One or two teaspoons of decoction
of the fresh leaves given - mixed with each baby feed - will prevent
digestive disorders in babies and help them sleep well.
Dill oil, obtained by the distillation of the seeds, is also an effective
medicine for hyperacidity, flatulent colic, hiccup and diarrhea due to
indigestion. A drop of dill oil, mixed in a teaspoon of honey, should be
licked immediately after meals. Similarly, if a drop of it is administered
with castor oil to young children it may prevent griping pain in the
abdomen and increase purgative action by relaxing the intestines.
Diarrhea and Dysentery
Dill seeds yield a very powerful carminative oil. When these are sauteed
in ghee with fenugreek seeds in equal numbers, they will serve a specific
medicine for diarrhea and acute bacillary dysentery. For optimum results,
roasted seeds are powdered and mixed with curd or buttermilk.
Dill seeds are effective in respiratory disorders like colds, influenza
and bronchitis. About 60 grams of infusion of the seeds mixed with honey
should be taken thrice daily in such disorders.
Dill is useful in stimulating and regulating menstrual flow. It is
effective in spasmodic menstrual pain in young girls and absence of
menstruation due to anemia, exposure to cold and pregnancy. About 60 grams
of a decoction of the fresh leaves, mixed with a teaspoon of parsley
juice, can be taken thrice daily in the treatment of the above disorders.
Dill seeds are highly useful in curing bad breath. The seeds are chewed
for this purpose.
Boils and Swellings
A paste of fresh dill leaves can be applied as a poultice to ripen blood
boils. Its application with a little turmeric powder prevents any
formation of pus in ulcers and heals them quickly. Leaves boiled in sesame
oil makes an excellent liniment for reducing swelling and pain of the
Precautions: Dill leaves are slightly pungent, aromatic and bitter in
taste. They should, therefore, be taken only in combination with other
mild tasting leafy vegetables.
Pregnancy and Lactation: Dill is of great value to pregnant women and
nursing mothers. Its regular use after childbirth increases the quantum of
breast milk. It prevents any early ovulation thereby establishing as an
effective birth control device.
The fresh green plant is used as a flavoring for soups, sauces and other
culinary purposes. The seeds are used as a substitute for caraway seeds
and as a source of dill-water, especially for relieving flatulence in
babies. The leaves can serve as supplement to vegetable salads. The leaves
and seeds can be used in making pickles or chutneys and summer beverages.