Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae.
It is an aromatic herb with delicate, feathery green leaves.
Dill is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region.
It has been used for its culinary and medicinal properties for millennia.
Dill was mentioned both in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings.
It was popular in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, where it was considered a sign of wealth and was revered for its many healing properties.
Dill was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in a recipe for cleaning the mouth. Ancient soldiers would apply burnt dill seeds to their wounds to promote healing.
The curative properties of dill have been honored throughout history. The Conqueror Charlemagne even made it available on his banquet tables, so his guests who indulged too much could benefit from its carminative properties.
Today, dill is a noted herb in the cuisines of Scandinavia, central and eastern Europe, North Africa and the Russian Federation.
Dill grows about 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 in) tall and has slender hollow stems.
It has alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1 to 2 mm (0.04 to 0.08 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.04 in) broad, but harder in texture.
The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2 to 9 cm (0.8 to 3.5 in) diameter.
The seeds are 4 to 5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.04 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.
Dill has a warm, slightly sharp flavor somewhat reminiscent of caraway.
Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called “dill weed” to distinguish it from dill seed) are widely used as herbs in Europe and central Asia.
An essential oil from the seed (dill seed oil) is used in the food industry for flavoring as well, and used in perfuming soaps and in medicines.
Dill is a very good source of calcium and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
The health benefits of dill include freshens breath, keeps mouth clean, stops hiccups, remedies depression, relief from insomnia, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, strengthen bones and protects from bone degradation, bone degradation, protect you against arthritis and prevents cancer.
Dill’s name comes from the old Norse word dilla which means “to lull.” This name reflects dill’s traditional uses as both a carminative stomach soother and an insomnia reliever.