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Dill - Uses and Benefits

Botanical Name

  • Anethum graveolens
  • Umbelliferae family

Area of Origin

  • Native to Spain, imported mostly from India,
  • crop development in Prairies, Ontario, England U.S., Scandinavia, Europe.

Dill is a quick-growing annual herb with fine, ferny leaves on hollow, upright stems up to 3 feet high A common sight in a prairie garden it could in this situation be considered weedy. Dills umbrella-like heads of yellow flowers are traditionally used for seasoning and occasionally fresh-cut flowers.

Dill is commonly regarded as the Anethon of Dioscorides. It was well known in Pliny's days and is often mentioned by writers in the Middle Ages. As a drug it has been in use from very early times. It occurs in the tenth-century vocabulary of Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Plant Description:

The plant grows ordinarily from 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and is very like fennel, though smaller, having the same feathery leaves, which stand on sheathing foot-stalks, with linear and pointed leaflets. Unlike fennel, however, it has seldom more than one stalk and its long, spindle-shaped root is only annual. It is of very upright growth, its stems smooth, shiny and hollow, and in midsummer bearing flat terminal umbels with numerous yellow flowers, whose small petals are rolled inwards.

Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow and would make a great first herb for someone who has never grown herbs before. You'll find lots of uses for both the fronds and the seeds in the kitchen. A sprig of dill will perk up almost any soup, salad, or main dish.

Uses of Dill:-

The young flowerheads can be added to salads but be sure to allow some to go to seed. the leaves make an excellent sauce for fish and can be added to salads especially cucumber. Dill leaves chopped finely are and interesting addition to cottage cheese or cream cheese. Traditionally dill seed tea is said to promote sleep and when chewed they can sweeten the breath.

Dill has a refreshing aroma and delicious tang, either fresh or dried. Snip fresh leaves into soups and salads. Dill is very popular in cucumber dishes, dips and sour cream, fish and vinegarettes.

The seeds are a must for homemade pickling. Dill seeds are also the main ingredient in curry powder.

Medicinal Applications:

Dill tea is popular for controlling flatulence. Make the tea by adding 1-2 teaspoons of dried seeds to boiling water. Let it steep for several minutes.

Chewing a few Dill seeds will freshen your breath.

Dill is used in an assortment of cooking ways. From breads, to dips, to soups, pickles, meats and salads. Dill also makes a pretty backdrop to flower arrangements and pressed flower pictures and added as backdrops to pressed flower candles. These craft items will be covered in Kathie's Herb Page over a period of time.

Benefits of Dill:

Dill's unique health benefits come from two types of healing components: monoterpenes, including carvone, limonene, and anethofuran; and flavonoids , including kaempferol and vicenin.

The monoterpene components of dill have been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase , which helps attach the anti-oxidant molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body.

The total volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth. In this respect, dill shares the stage with garlic, which has also been shown to have "bacteriostatic" or bacteria-regulating effects.

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