Dill's Health Benefits

Dill has long been used as an aid for digestion, and its name comes from the Old Norse word “dilla” which means to lull. Hippocrates used dill as a mouth cleanser and soldiers used to rub burnt dill seeds into wounds as a cleansing agent. In addition to calming digestion and relieving gas, dill offers many other health benefits when used in cooking and as a dietary supplement.

A bunch of dill

It is the oil in dill that works on the digestive system. The oils contain a compound called carvone that helps to relieve gas and stomach upset. The dill oil also works to stimulate the bile and digestive juices in the stomach and influence the peristaltic motion of the intestine that pushes food through the digestive system.

Dill also may help relieve hiccups. Dill seed is a good source of calcium, manganese and iron. It also has small amounts of trace nutrients and amino acids.

Dill oil is a natural disinfectant and can be used as a natural treatment for dysentery. The oil blocks the fungus that causes dysentery and the monoterpenes (carvone, limonene, and anethofuran) and flavinoids (kaempferol and vicenin) also have germicidal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Dill seeds can be chewed to freshen the breath and the antimicrobial properties work against infections inside the mouth. It is also a good source of calcium and can help strengthen the teeth and bones.

Dill is also a diuretic that can be used to flush toxins from the body. It also contains arginine thought to increase libido and stimulate the endocrine system. In ancient times it was sometimes prescribed as an aphrodesiac.

Some experimentation indicates that it is a galactagogue, which causes it to increase milk production in lactating women. This may be a reason that pickles have long been associated with pregnant women.

Dill's most exciting health benefit is that it contains monoterpenes (called MT's in the cancer world). In dill seeds and other herb seeds such as the seeds of caraway and celery this substance has cancer fighting properties. The monoterpenes work to make pre-cancerous cells become more normal, preventing the growth of cancer in already affected cells and kills off cells that have already become cancerous. The antioxidant properties of dill are especially helpful in combating cancer. They inhibit free radicals and carcinogens from tobacco smoke and smoke from charcoal and trash incineration.

Dill causes the body to secrete certain hormones that help to regulate menstrual cycles and can cause cycles to become more regular. The flavinoids and monoterpenes in dill work as an antihistamine and also reduce congestion in the chest due to allergies.

The essential oil of dill works to help the body secrete hormones that help to cure insomnia.

Thus dill exhibits many health benefits, and is considered safe for use as a food additive. In the quantities commonly consumed it has no toxic effects, with the possible exception of individuals with specific allergies.

<< History of Dill | How to Grow Dill >>

Resources

Organic Facts: Health Benefits of Dill
Botanical.com: Dill

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