Habitat & Cultivation : Dill, native to southern Europe and central and southern Asia, is found growing wild on waste ground. Additionally, it is extensively cultivated, with notable cultivation in England, Germany, and North America. The leaves of the dill plant are typically picked for use as a culinary herb, while the seeds are harvested in late summer.
Parts Used : Seeds, essential oil, leaves.
Constituents : Dill seeds contain up to 5% volatile oil (about half of which is alpha-phellandrene), flavonoids, coumarins, xanthones and triterpenes.
History & Folklore : Dill has a rich history in ancient remedies and cultural practices. An ancient Egyptian remedy found in the Ebers papyrus (circa 1500 BCE) includes dill as one of the ingredients in a pain-killing mixture. The ancient Greeks are said to have placed fronds of the herb over their eyes to induce sleep. In the Middle Ages, dill was frequently employed as a charm against witchcraft, and it was burned to clear thunderclouds. The name “dill” itself is derived from the Norse word “dylla,” meaning “to soothe,” highlighting its historical association with calming properties.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Dill has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for digestive issues, known to alleviate gas and soothe digestion. The essential oil derived from dill is effective in relieving intestinal spasms and griping, making it a common ingredient in gripe water mixtures. Chewing dill seeds is believed to improve bad breath. Additionally, dill is a valuable addition to remedies for coughs, colds, and flu, and it acts as a mild diuretic. Similar to caraway, it can be combined with antispasmodics like cramp bark to alleviate period pain. Dill is also known to boost milk production, and when regularly consumed by nursing mothers, it helps prevent colic in their infants.