What is Dill?
Dill is a plant native to the southern parts of Russia, the Mediterranean, and western parts of Africa. Its leaves and seeds are used as food seasoning and are known to have medicinal properties. The word “dill” comes from “dilla”, an Old Norse word which means “to lull”. Scientifically know as “Anethum graveolens”, dill was traditionally used to soothe aching stomachs and relieve insomnia.
Dill was popular in Roman and Greek cultures. It was considered then as a sign of prosperity and wealth, and was considered to have many healing properties. It was said that Hippocrates used dill for mouth cleaning and dill seeds were once thought to heal the wounds of soldiers.
Dill leaves and seeds are used for cooking. Dill leaves are best served fresh and goes well with fish, potatoes, egg dishes, and cream sauces. Dill seeds, which have a stronger flavor, can be used in root vegetable dishes, rice, stews, and breads. The seeds can also be used when making pickles.
Dill’s health benefits come from two major components namely, monoterpenes and flavanoids (kaempferol and vicenin). The monoterpene components that include carvone, anethofuran, and limonene have anti-oxidant properties which give protection against free radicals and carcinogens like benzopyrenes. Benzopyrenes are substances that come from cigarette and grill smokes. The oil portion of dill has been shown to have ‘bacteriostatic’ properties, similar to garlic, and is also known to give muscle relaxation. Teas made with dill seeds give relief to nausea and indigestion. Dill is also a major source of calcium, which helps make the bones go stronger. Other nutritional elements present in dill are vitamin C, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Many have also discovered that dill can cure hiccups and colic in infants.
With its numerous uses in cooking and its various health benefits, dill is also common to be grown at homes and backyard gardens.