dill benefits

What is dill?

Dill is well known and widely used herb, scientifically called as Anethum graveolens typically found in West Africa, Southern Russia and the Mediterranean region. Dill has been used since ancient times for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It contains several nutrients and active compounds, which in addition to giving a strong aromatic flavour also provides surprising health benefits to the body.

It is called as Soyo in Hindi, Dill in English, Sadapa Vittulu in Telugu, Satakuppi in Tamil, Saluka in Bengali, Shepu in Marathi, Suva in Gujarathi, Sabbasige soppu in Kannada, Shibith in Arabian.

Dill Nutrition facts

Dill contains essential oils, organic compounds, vitamins and minerals. These leaves are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, potassium, copper and zinc.

It is an annual herb grows easily in greenhouses and hothouses. So, it is always available in well-stocked grocery stores all year long. The leaves have such a unique taste and looks beautiful. So, a small spring of fresh dill can add a notable aroma when used as a garnish.

Health benefits of dill

Dill is one of the herbal plant and to be added in the regular diet to avail its wonderful health benefits. Let us see some of the surprising health benefits of dill.

Aids in digestion

Dill contains essential oils which has a stimulating effect on the digestive system. It makes the passage of bowel movements easier and aids in the peristaltic motion of the intestine. It also has fibre content, that actually makes feel fuller for longer period, warding off unwanted cravings and keeps the digestive system clean and clear. Dill has been used as herbal remedy for heartburn. Dill considered great for digestive conditions like diarrhea, constipation and dysentery. Adding dill to your regular diet may prevent and relieves constipation.

Reduces menstrual cramps

The essential oils contain flavonoids which are believed to stimulate secretion of certain hormones, which play an important role in maintaining proper menstrual cycles in women. The flavonoids presence in fresh dill could help to maintain proper menstruation cycle, and also help reduce menstrual cramps.

Promotes bone health

Dill leaves are rich sources of calcium and other minerals. Adding dill in daily diet prevents bone loss and strengthen your skeletal system. Lack of adequate amount of calcium may lead to osteoporosis. Regular consumption of dill is a great way to avoid bone problems.

Remedy for insomnia

Dill leaves are great natural remedy for insomnia and sleep disorders. The fresh leaves contain vitamin B complex and flavonoids, they activate secretion of certain enzymes and hormones which have calming effect and makes you sleep better. This herb also possesses sedative and hypnotic properties that help in calming and relaxing the mind.

Manages blood sugar level

Studies proved that dill is effective in regulating insulin levels in the body. Dill extract can boost immunity and is highly effective in lowering blood glucose level in people suffering from diabetes. Studies have also found that dill can help decrease the fluctuations of insulin levels and serum lipids, thus makes it very effective in controlling corticosteroid induced diabetes.

Boosts immune system

Per 100 gram of dill contains the daily recommended value of vitamin C, which helps give your immune system a boost. Vitamin C activates the production of cells in the immune system that protects the body from infections and diseases. Once the immune system is stronger, it becomes easier for the body to fight against viruses, bacteria, and other microbes.

Lowers cholesterol

If you would like to maintain cholesterol level under control, just add more dill in the daily diet. Because studies have proved that dill can reduce both cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the body. In fact, experiments done with rats indicate that dill extract helps in reducing total cholesterol levels by 20% and triglycerides levels by up to 50%.

Good for oral health

The fresh leaves and the seeds both are good for oral health. The essential oils found in dill leaves are germicidal, antibacterial, antioxidant and disinfectant in nature. All these properties help prevent oral infections and minimizes the free radical damages to gums and teeth. The aromatic flavour of fresh dill leaves is an excellent mouth freshener.

Fights cancer

The two types of healing compounds called flavonoids and monoterpenes that make dill a unique healing herb. Of that, monoterpenes component contains (limonene, carvone, and anethofuran) antioxidant properties. Dill leaves are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential oils, flavonoids and monoterpenes, all these compounds promote a healthy heart and fights cancer.

Treats epilepsy

Epilepsy is common neurological disorder characterized by unpredictable and episodic seizures.

“Research published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, the aqueous extract of dill leaves was reviewed for its effects on treating convulsions and epilepsy. The evaluation defined the plant as having a traditional medical reputation for profound anticonvulsant activities, potentially working as a natural alternative treatment for epilepsy”.

Calms hiccups

Hiccups are sudden involuntary tightening of the diaphragm. Whenever the diaphragm contracts, the top of the food pipe closes immediately and it make hic sound. Hiccups may also have caused by allergies, nervous excitement, hypersensitivity and hyperactivity. The dill leaves are sedative and carminative in nature, so it could help calming down the hiccups.

Treats diarrhea and dysentery

Diarrhea is a common condition occurs due to indigestion and microbial action. Dysentery caused by bacteria that infected the digestive system. Dill contains anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties in it. These properties can help cure diarrhea and dysentery by preventing microbial infections and becomes a natural solution to this condition. It also kills bacteria that cause dysentery.

Other health benefits of dill

  • Fresh dill increases urination and helps remove toxins through urination.
  • Dill leaves are rich in iron, so consuming dill help promote the production of red blood cells.
  • Some of the compounds present in fresh dill can act as an antidepressant agent that could help treating depression.
  • Cough, allergies, and histamines are considered as light respiratory disorders. The flavonoids and other compounds in dill can alleviate these conditions.
  • Dill is one of the anti-inflammatory herb, thus reduces inflammation and associated pain of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Side effects of dill

Fresh dill may be great for women as it maintains proper menstruation cycle and reduces cramps. But it must be avoided during pregnancy, because it could lead to miscarriage.

There is no intensive study yet about fresh dill consumed by breast-feeding mothers. But it is better to avoid or it is safe to reduce the dosage.

Fresh dill is not recommended for use directly on skin, because certain compounds present in dill can increase skin sensitivity.

Those who are allergic to caraway and celery should avoid consuming fresh dill as well. This is because dill comes from the same family as celery.

Always consult a doctor before using dill as a home remedy or in a traditional medicine recipe. It is always better to avoid negative medicine interaction that could be harmful for your health.

How to include dill in your diet

Dill comes in fresh as well as dried form. The fresh dill is often added to potato salads, seafood dishes, yogurt sauces, fresh baked breads, vinegars and soups. You can also use dill as a garnish like parsley. Dill is often used as an ingredient in making pickles.

Dill recipe ideas

Greek spinach dip

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 12 ounces spinach leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Ground black pepper as required

Method

  • Heat olive oil in a frying pan in high heat
  • Add onions, garlic and stir fry for a minute.
  • Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cool down and cooked spinach into a food processor.
  • Pulse until roughly pureed.
  • Add remaining ingredients except black pepper.
  • Pulse once just to combine, then season to taste with pepper.

Serve this spinach dip with warm pita bread or crisp crudités.

Lemon dill and basil hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 drops of hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons purified water

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in the blender.
  • Blend the ingredients on medium speed until it becomes a smooth, peanut butter like consistency.
  • Add additional olive oil if it seems too stiff.
  • Transfer to a bowl and chill overnight to let the flavour intensify.

Here is a simple dill carrot smoothie –

dill carrot smoothie

 Some other dill recipes that you can check out

  1. Herbed carrot soup
  2. Dolmas salad
  3. Quinoa cranberry salad
  4. Homemade ranch dressing
  5. Blackberry lemon salad
  6. Mushroom soup
  7. Easy guacamole

 How to buy and store dill

Always look for bunches of dill with cut stems and green leaves. Dill fronds are delicate and airy, as such, they droop and get bruised easily. So, do not just buy dill, take a look and make sure the leaves on the downside do not have bruises.

Wrap the stems of dill loosely in plastic and store in the fridge. Do not wash before storing, because it wilts very quickly. Still if you see lot of dirt’s or bugs, washing is needed, but make sure dry the leaves gently before storing it. Use within one or two days, since it tends to wilt and get mushy.

Dill seed uses

As like dill leaves, the seeds are also used in Indian culinary. Dill seeds are mainly used to treat digestive disorders. The seed extract has been used in the treatment of cold, cough, flu, asthma, peptic ulcer, urinary tract infection, acid reflux, and headaches.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.