Thursday, August 1, 2013


Dill-Anethum Graveolens

Also known as:  dillweed, dilly, garden dill, dill fruit

Parts used:  Aerial parts

Meridians/Organs affected:  stomach, spleen, liver

Properties:  carminative, antiemetic, antispasmodic, stomachic, emmenogogue, diuretic, galactogogue, calmative, aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic

Dill is a hardy, upright annual that has a smell not easily confused with any other plant.  (Personally the scent of dill sets my mouth to watering and my stomach to rumbling.)  It has ovate leaves divided into thread like segments and umbels of yellow flowers that appear in the summer followed by oval shaped seeds.  It can get up to 3 feet tall and is considered a wonderful companion plant to many a gardener.  It grows well with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, onions and lettuce.  However, if growing with carrots it should be harvested before it matures as once mature it will impede the growth of the carrots.

Dill is a Middle Eastern herb that has been around since Biblical times.  The leaves and flowers of dill were found buried with the mummified remains of Ameophis II (1425 BC) and were also used medicinally by the Copts (early native Christian Egyptians) and the Egyptians in general.  It is spoken of in the Talmud (Jewish text) as being subject to taxation and in ancient Rome, Pliny (23-79 AD) spoke of its multiple uses by the Romans.  It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its carminative effects on the body.  In more recent centuries it has been used primarily for colicky babies.  It works very well for stomach aches in adults too.  It has been used to assist in insomnia related to indigestion (which happens more often than not in this day and age due to poor dietary choices and poor food combinations).  Taken as a tea by nursing mothers it can increase breast milk production.  The root has been boiled and used as a tea to combat flus, colds and coughs.  The English would steep fresh dill in white wine for several days and use it for flatulence and stomach cramps.  Extracts of dill are calming to the digestive system and works also as a mild diuretic.  Interestingly enough, dill is also recognized by herbalists as an anti-infective agent.  In colonial times mother would make something they called "dill cakes" for babies to chew on when teething (it was known to have a soothing effects on the gums and helped to alleviate the pain).  It has been used to relieve hiccups, prevent fermentation in the intestines (of foods that do not digest well), and to calm the nerves.  The seeds have been chewed to relieve or remedy bad breath.

Dill is a splendid herb with a lot of culinary applications aside from its medicinal uses.  It can be used for far more than just pickles.  Dill is great with fish, eggs, cucumbers, soups, sauces, meats, vegetables, seafood, etc.  Try using it more in your own kitchen or make yourself a cup of dill tea when you have indigestion and see how well it helps out.  Kitchen spices are far more than simple spices, one has a virtual medical lab right in the culinary kitchen cabinet.

As with all of my posts I have included some links here in regards to dill.  Enjoy!

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