Dill: properties, benefits and uses

Nature offers us a wide variety of plants with multiple benefits, including dill, an aromatic herb belonging to the Umbelliferae family native to the Mediterranean basin and Asia Minor.


What is dill.

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an herb present in all European and Asian cuisines.

It has slender stems with alternate soft leaves and brown, flat, oval seeds.

The leaves have a sweet, herbaceous flavor, the dill seeds are more aromatic, with a slight citrus flavor.

As an herb and spice, dill is used to enhance the flavor of certain dishes.

In addition to its culinary uses, dill is rich in various nutrients and has traditionally been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, infantile colic, and bad breath.

The Greeks and Romans prized it for its incredible culinary and therapeutic value, while the Egyptians held it in high esteem for its medicinal value.

dill plant

Currently, it is grown extensively in countries like Italy, Turkey, Russia, and Poland, as it is one of the most popular herbs in the world.

Its exquisite aroma of anise and lemon, its particular morphology, its flowers and its varied nutritional content make it a highly appreciated plant, both in ornamentation and in gastronomy and medicine.

  • Common name in Spanish: dill, abesón, fetid or stinky fennel, aneto, false anise, anetaverón.
  • Scientific name: Anethum graveolens.
  • Family: Umbelliferae (Umbelliferae).
  • Characteristics and habitat: aromatic annual herbaceous plant. Its height is distributed between 30 and 45 cm, whose stem is characterized by being thin and very delicate; while its root is long and thin. The leaves have a distinctive green color, are branched at the tip and bear a large number of umbels. It prefers warm and humid climates.

Properties of dill.

Nutrition sheet.

One cup (9 grams) of fresh dill provides approximately:

  • calories: 4
  • Vitamin C: 8% of the recommended daily value (RDV).
  • Manganese: 5% of the VDR.
  • Vitamin A: 4% of the VDR.
  • folate: 3% of the VDR.
  • Iron: 3% of the VDR.

Source: fdc.nal.usda.gov

Fresh dill contains very few calories, but is a source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin A.

Vitamin C is vital for the immune system and aids in bone formation, wound healing and metabolism.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that is important for maintaining vision and supporting a healthy immune system. It is also involved in male and female reproduction.

Dill is a good source of manganese. An essential mineral that contributes to the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system and metabolism of sugars and fats.

In addition, fresh dill provides between 1% and 2% of the RDA in calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.

As for dill seeds, they have many similar nutritional benefits. One tablespoon (6.6 grams) of seeds provides 8% RDA for calcium, 6% RDA for iron, and 1-5% RDA for magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.

medicinal plant dill

Dill: what is it for?

Rich in antioxidants.

Antioxidants are natural compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.

Therefore, research suggests that eating antioxidant-rich foods may help reduce chronic inflammation and prevent or even treat certain conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain forms of cancer.

The seeds and leaves of the dill plant have been shown to be rich in several plant compounds with antioxidant properties, including:

  • Flavonoids. Plant compounds that have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancer. They may also play an important role in brain health.
  • Terpenoids. These compounds are found in essential oils and may protect against liver, heart, kidney and brain diseases.
  • Tannins. Responsible for the bitterness of many plant foods, tannins have been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties as well as antimicrobial effects.

May benefit heart health.

Flavonoids, like those found in dill, have been shown to protect heart health due to their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, it is important to note that most studies investigating the effects of dill on heart health have used extracts. Therefore, it is unknown how much fresh or dried dill in the diet may affect heart health.

Overall, although the antioxidants in dill extracts may benefit overall heart health, more human studies are needed to assess dill’s effectiveness on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

It can help lower blood sugar levels.

Dill is said to have hypoglycemic effects.

In fact, several studies in animals with diabetes have shown significant improvement in fasting blood sugar with daily doses of dill extract. Human research is limited.

It may have anticancer properties.

Monoterpenes are a class of terpenes, which are naturally occurring plant compounds associated with anticancer, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

They are commonly found in the essential oils of plants such as dill and have been linked to anti-cancer properties.

Specifically, d-limonene is a type of monoterpene that studies have shown can help prevent and treat lung, breast, and colon cancer.

As dill is rich in monoterpenes, especially d-limonene, it may have anti-cancer properties. However, there is currently no research on the effectiveness of dill or dill extract on the risk or treatment of cancer.

Antibacterial properties.

Dill essential oils have antibacterial effects that fight potentially harmful bacteria, such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and the Staphylococcus aureus.

bone health

It contains calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all of which are important for bone health.

Menstrual cramps.

Dill essential oils can help relieve cramping pain during menstruation. However, research is limited and contradictory.

How is dill taken?

It is generally consumed as an infusion. The seeds and leaves can be used both fresh and dried. For your preparation:

  • Boil a cup of water, turn off the burner and add a tablespoon of dill leaves. Cover and let stand for about 7 minutes. You can sweeten with a tablespoon of honey or sweeteners.
  • Boil a whole stalk of dill in a cup of water and steep for a few minutes. Remove the stem and drink hot.
  • Pour a tablespoon of crushed seeds in a cup of boiling water for a few hours, then strain and drink it with honey.

The recommended dose is two to three cups of infusion per day.

Contraindications to dill.

While it is true that this plant has countless benefits, improper consumption can cause adverse reactions. Even if they are not considered extremely serious, we must be vigilant.

Dill is safe for consumption. Rarely, it has been shown to cause allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, itching in the mouth, red bumps on the tongue, and swelling in the throat.

Additionally, it is recommended to avoid dill pills or extracts during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as research on their safety is limited.

In summary:

  • Pregnancy: Dill tea should not be consumed in excess during pregnancy. This plant can cause suppressed menstruation, uterine contractions and even abortions.
  • People with gastritis, digestive problems, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy: can cause convulsions if dill is consumed in large quantities
  • Children under 6 and older adults: its use should be limited. You should always consult your doctor first.

Remember to consult your doctor before starting any herbal treatment.

Other uses of dill.

Dill is a tasty and easy ingredient to add to food.

In addition to all the medicinal applications mentioned above, we must not forget that dill belongs to the group of spices. Therefore, its delicate aroma and flavor are highly sought after in gastronomy.

It is a basic ingredient in many countries, especially in the cuisine of the Nordic countries. It is very frequently used in the preparation of marinades and to season fish, especially salmon. Also, it is used to flavor salads, meats, rice, oils, vinegars and sauces.

Here are some ways to add fresh dill to your meals:

  • Use it as a garnish for soups or roasted vegetables.
  • Sprinkle it on cold cucumber salads.
  • Use it in potato salads or on roasted or baked potatoes.
  • Mix it with yogurt-based sauces.
  • Chop it up and add it to salads.
  • Add it to baked breads.
  • Stir it into sauces, marinades or salad dressings.
  • Dried dill can also be used to flavor sauces, marinades and potato, chicken or tuna salads.
Properties of dill seedsImage: Stephanie Frey – Depositphotos.

Dill seeds have grown in popularity in recent years. They can be used whole or crushed and added to breads, soups or vegetable dishes. They can also be used to make pickles.

How to store dill.

To keep dill fresh, first lightly mist the leaves with cool water, wrap the sprigs loosely in a paper towel, then place them in a resealable plastic bag.

Store dill in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to a week. If you need to store dill longer, you can also freeze it by rinsing it and placing the sprigs in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer.

Once frozen, transfer the twigs to a freezer-safe bag and return to the freezer for up to 6 months for best flavor.

Frozen dill can be used for cooking without having to thaw it. Dried dill and dill seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for 6 months to 1 year.

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