Dill – Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of the Anethum Graveolens - 2022

Introduction & History of Dill

Dill scientific name is Anethum Graveolens, other common names are Indian dill, soyo, sowa. It is an annual or biennial herb with smooth surfaced, finely dissected leaves, small yellow flowers, and elliptic, flattened fruits, the plant normally grows to a height of under one meter.

The herb 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 sulfurous 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 other tropical countries.

Chemical Composition

Dill contains monoterpenes, flavonoids, vitamins minerals, and amino acids. 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 roots yield another essential oil containing 95% of a-b pinene. These oils have a high proportion of terpenes.

The oil yield is about 3.5%, and the oil extracted from leaves and seeds is used in beauty and skincare products. The oil is pale yellow in color and darkens over time, Japan and India are the major exporters of dill oil, and the oil from India has a lower carvone content.


Common Uses

Dried dill foliage is commonly called dill weed and is used to flavor meats, sauces, stews, bread, vinegar, and pastries in Asia, Europe, and America. It is a pickling spice in the USA, and the aroma is sweet and tangy, between anise and caraway. Fresh herbs have a stronger fragrance than dried, the fragrance vanishes when overcooked, so it is best to add dill when food is nearly cooked.

The English regarded it as a magical herb and good-luck plant that repelled witches, dill branches were hung outside doors in Europe to ward off evil. Dill was popular with ancient Greeks and Romans, who attributed to it a range of medicinal properties. Dioscorides recommended making a strong tea from the dried leaf and seeds to cure inhibited lactation, difficult urination, hiccups, flatulence, and uterine problems.

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Health Benefits and Uses of Dill

Dill leaves are useful in increasing the secretion and discharge of urine and in counteracting spasmodic disorders. They make for a soothing medicine and help improve the functioning of the stomach. It is recommended to improve digestion, painful urination, menstrual disorders, pain, and dysentery. It is also good for oral care, bone health, and diabetes. Dill weed sprigs are regarded to be antiseptic, digestive, and carminative.

Its essential oil is also used on the scalp to get rid of lice, and treat muscle cramps, intestinal spasms, and colic. It acts like a mild sedative and has a calming effect on the brain, it is used to relieve anxiety, anger, and depression, and it also helps to induce sleep at night.

It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antisecretory properties, it relaxes smooth muscles and increases progesterone.

Here are some Uses and Benefits of Dill

Bad Breath

Dill seeds are chewed to get rid of bad breath.

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 make an excellent liniment for reducing swelling and pain of the joints.

Diarrhea and Dysentery

Dill seeds yield a very powerful carminative oil, when sautéed in ghee with an equal number of fenugreeks seeds, they serve as a specific medicine for diarrhea and acute bacillary dysentery. For optimum results, roasted seeds are powdered and mixed with curd or buttermilk.

Digestive Disorders

Eating cooked dill regularly aids digestion and prevents constipation, the herb is especially good for children. One or two tsp of digestive disorders in babies help them sleep well. Dill oil obtained from dill seeds is an effective medicine for hyperacidity, flatulent colic, hiccup, and diarrhea due to indigestion.

A drop of dill oil mixed with a tsp of honey should be licked immediately after a meal, similarly, if a drop of this oil is administered with castor oil to young children it may prevent griping pain in the abdomen and increase purgative action by relaxing the intestine.

Menstrual Disorders

Dill is useful in stimulating and regulating menstrual flow, it is effective in spasmodic menstrual pain in young girls and the absence of menstruation due to anemia or exposure to cold or pregnancy.

About 60 grams of a decoction of fresh leaves and mixed with a tsp of parsley juice, taken thrice daily stimulates and regulates menstrual flow.

Respiratory Disorders

Dill seeds are effective in respiratory disorders like colds, influenza, and bronchitis, about 60 grams of infusion of the seeds mixed with honey is advised thrice a day.


Dill is of great value to pregnant women and nursing mothers, its regular use after birth increases the quantum of breast milk.

Other Uses

The fresh green plant is used as a flavoring for soups and sauces as well as for 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 supplements to vegetable salads, and the leaves and seeds are also used in pickles or chutneys and summer beverages.

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Side Effects of Dill

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.

Dill leaves are slightly pungent, aromatic, and bitter in taste, they should therefore be taken only in combination with other mild-tasting leafy vegetables.

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