Essential oil from this herb as once believed to offer protection from witchcraft and used in preparation of love potions! Sounds interesting, isn’t it? This herb is called Dill. Interestingly Dill in hindi means heart. This magical herb does wonders to our health. Dill is an amazing herb that has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for several centuries. Native to the Mediterranean region, it has been widely used since ancient times both as a culinary herb and as a medicinal plant. It contains several active compounds, which in addition to giving a strong and appetizing flavor and aroma to dishes, also provides numerous health and medicinal benefits.
Nutritional value of Dill
Dill is a low calorie, zero cholesterol herb. Most of the health benefiting properties of this herb can be attributed to the presence of certain plant derived compounds that have strong antioxidant effects. It is also rich in dietary fiber and many vitamins and minerals. Dill is a great source of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin and folate. A good level of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and manganese can also be obtained by consuming this herb. The leaves and seeds of dill contain many essential volatile oils such as eugenol, d-carvone, terpinene, dillapiol, myristicin and limonene. These essential oils have many therapeutic uses and so dill has the potential to be used as a herbal remedy for many health problems.
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Health benefits of Dill
Dill is super herb that possesses a great number of amazing qualities. Not only does it impart flavor and taste to dishes, but it also contains healing properties that has been used for centuries in many parts of the world. Let’s go through some of health benefits this wonderful herb can offer us:
- Dill and digestive health
Dill has been popularly used as a remedy for digestion. Along with promoting digestion and relieving gas, it also offers many other benefits for the digestive system. Dill is a great appetizer and is extensively used in culinary applications. The essential oils present in dill stimulate the production of bile and digestive juices in the stomach. These oils also stimulate peristaltic motion of the intestine, making the passage of bowel movements easy and smooth and thus relieving constipation. Dill essential oils contain a compound known as carvone that helps to ease stomach upset and relieve gas. Both the seeds and leaves of this herb can be used to prepare a tea that will ease stomach ache as well as relieve colic. A study published in the 2002 issue of “BMC Pharmacology” suggests that dill has the ability to significantly lower the secretion of acid and inhibit the development of stomach lesions, thus exhibiting anti-ulcer activity in laboratory mice.
- Dill improves bone health
Dill is a great source of calcium, a very important element that prevents bone loss as well as the loss of bone mineral density. This mineral plays a key role in the proper growth and development of bones. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that is characterized by the loss of bone mass and weakening of bones. One of the main reasons for the occurrence of this condition is the lack of adequate amounts of calcium in the body. Consuming dill regularly is a great way of obtaining healthy quantities of calcium, making your bones strong and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
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- Dill is an effective remedy for insomnia
The calming effect of dill may be beneficial against insomnia. In fact, it has been used as a remedy for insomnia for a long time. The essential oils found in this herb possess sedative, stimulating and hypnotic properties that help in calming and relaxing the mind. Moreover the active compounds in dill stimulate the production of certain enzymes and hormones that induce a calming effect and help you get a good night’s sleep. Dill can be consumed in water or the seeds can be chewed for obtaining their calming effect. Some people even place dill leaves over the eyes to get good sleep.
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- Dill has antimicrobial properties
Dill has been found to exhibit strong antimicrobial effects. According to a study published in the 2006 issue of the “Journal of Food Science”, the essential oils obtained from dill was effective against several strains of bacteria. The oil was found to be effective in completely inhibiting the growth of Fusarium graminearum and in destroying five other bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Another study found that dill extracts obtained from the seeds killed several strains of fungus such as Aspergillus niger, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans.
- Dill offers cancer protection
Dill contains active ingredients such as flavonoids and monoterpenes, which have cancer fighting properties. The flavonoids possess antioxidant effects that are helpful in fighting off free radicals and preventing cancer. Monoterpenes prevent cancer by activating the secretion of an enzyme known as glutathione-S-transferase, which has the ability to neutralize carcinogens. It can also help in neutralizing certain types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes that are contained in charcoal grill smoke, cigarette smoke, and smoke produced by trash incinerators. It is also effective in neutralizing free radicals, thereby protecting the body from oxidation stress and DNA damage. Dill is thus a chemo-protective food and adding it to your regular diet is highly beneficial in protecting your body from cancer.
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- Dill is good diabetic patients
Dill is a great herb that can help control blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Animal studies indicate that dill may be effective in regulating the levels of insulin in the body. Researchers have found that it can help decrease the fluctuations of insulin levels and serum lipids, thus making it effective in controlling corticosteroid induced diabetes. Dill extract effectively lowers blood glucose level in people suffering from diabetes. It also helps diabetic patients by boosting immunity and controlling thyroid functions. Because of these amazing benefits, dill is often recommended as one of the best foods for people with type 1 diabetes.
- Dill boosts your immune system
Dill is rich in vitamin C content, which helps gives your immune system a boost. As the immune system becomes stronger, it becomes easier for your body to fight off bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Vitamin C stimulates the production of cells in the immune system that help protect your body from possible infections and diseases. Moreover the antioxidant properties of dill offer additional protection from free radical damage. Dill also contains compounds known as polyacetylenes that have been found to have antimicrobial properties. These compounds have the ability to inhibit the growth of microbes in the body.
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- Dill helps reduce cholesterol levels
According to an animal study published in “Phytotherapy Research”, dill exhibits excellent cholesterol-lowering benefits. Experiments on rats indicate that the extract obtained from the leaves of dill helps in reducing total cholesterol levels by 20 percent and triacylglyceride levels by up to 50 percent. Another study in Iran found that dill extract given to rats helped in increasing the levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL and lowering the levels of total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol by a significant amount. This shows that dill has the potential to function as an effective heart-protective agent.
- Dill for menstrual problems
Dill has been found to help in both stimulating and regulating the menstrual cycles in women. An animal study published in “Phytotherapy Research”, found that dill extract supplementation (5 grams kilogram body weight) increased progesterone levels and lengthened the menstrual cycle. The results of this study shows that dill has the potential to be used as natural method for regulating the menstrual cycle. Another study published in the “European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care”, dill supplementation reduced fertility in male laboratory animals to a certain extent by making it difficult for the sperm to recognize the eggs. However, it didn’t reduce the testosterone levels, sperm count or sperm motility.
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- Dill has anti-inflammatory properties
Another property that makes dill a great medicinal herb id its anti-inflammatory effect. According to a study, dill helped in inhibiting white blood cells from releasing cytokines, which are molecules that promote inflammation. Dill seed oil also helps in reducing inflammation and allergies. This oil is often recommended for people suffering from inflammation in the throat and mouth. The active ingredients in this herb such as monoterpenes and flavonoids are mainly responsible for fighting allergies. Inhaling dill oil is found to be helpful in alleviating allergies and respiratory infections. Massaging the inflamed and painful parts of the body with one or two drops of Dill oil mixed with olive oil can help in reducing the pain and inflammation.
- Dill is a great galactogogue
Galactogogues are substances that increase lactation in human beings and animals. Dill has been proven to be a good galactogogue. In addition to increasing the secretion of milk, it also supports the digestive health of the babies. The milk of lactating mother who consume dill exhibits the herb’s carminative and digestive benefits which in turn help prevent digestive disorders like indigestion, flatulence, and gas in babies .
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Dill is a herb that has all the properties of a functional food. The leaves and seeds of this herb are available all year round. It is one of the versatile herbs that can be added to a wide range of dishes. It can also be grown easily in your garden. Although only a small amount of dill is needed in your recipes, it has the capacity to impart a wonderful flavor to your dishes and take it to the next level.