Dill: How to Make & Health Benefits

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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The herb dill contains a number of nutrients and compounds that are thought to help aid digestion and reduce excess gas. It may also soothe menstrual disorders and boost the immune system. As it is also an anti-inflammatory substance, its compounds can help protect against arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

What is Dill?

Dill (Anethum graveolens) has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Apart from giving a strong, tangy, appetizing flavor and taste, it possesses plenty of medicinal properties. These properties come from certain compounds called monoterpenes, as well as flavonoids, minerals, and amino acids.

Dill can be a perennial or annual herb, depending on where in the world it is cultivated. It can be used as a flavoring and garnish for a number of meals, but it is also used as an ingredient in many meals. For herbalists who want to grow their own dill, it is important to cultivate this herb in warm to hot summers, with plenty of sunshine.

Dill Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Spices, dill seed
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]7.7
Energy [kcal]305
Protein [g]15.98
Total lipid (fat) [g]14.54
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]55.17
Fiber, total dietary [g]21.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]1516
Iron, Fe [mg]16.33
Magnesium, Mg [mg]256
Phosphorus, P [mg]277
Potassium, K [mg]1186
Sodium, Na [mg]20
Zinc, Zn [mg]5.2
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]21
Thiamin [mg]0.42
Riboflavin [mg]0.28
Niacin [mg]2.81
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.25
Folate, DFE [µg]10
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]3
Vitamin A, IU [IU]53
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.73
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]9.41
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]1.01
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

The health benefits of dill are derived from its organic compounds, vitamins, and minerals. These include powerful monoterpenes like limonene, carvone, and anethofuran, as well as flavonoids like vicenin and kaempferol. As for vitamins and minerals, as per the USDA National Nutrient Database, it has a significant amount of vitamins A and C, as well as trace amounts of folate, iron, and manganese.

Appetizing Dill Pickle Recipe

Give your taste buds a refreshing kick with this cool condiment of cucumber and dill!
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dill pickle
Appliance: Cutting Board, Large Pot, Chef's knife, 2 wide-mouth pint jars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 jars
Author: Sakina Kheriwala

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Kirby or Persian cucumbers
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 tsp dill seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pickling salt or kosher salt

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and sterilize 2 wide-mouth pint jars and their lids. If you plan to make frozen pickles, simply wash the jars and lids.
  • Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom or stem end of the cucumber and leave it whole. Cut them into spears, or slice into coins, as desired.
  • Divide the garlic, dill seed, red pepper flakes between the pint jars: 2 smashed cloves, 1 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Trim the ends if they stand more than the actual height of the jar. Pack them as tightly as you can ensuring cucumbers are not getting smashed. 
  • Place the vinegar, water, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, fill each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top. 
  • Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to evaporate the air bubbles. Top it off with more pickling brine if necessary. 
  • Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until they are tight. 
  • Cool and refrigerate. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age. Give at least 48 hours before cracking them open. 
    Marinated pickle with cucumber, dill, and garlic on the kitchen table

Notes

Canned pickles keep for at least a year on the shelf and for several weeks in the refrigerator once opened. 

Health Benefits of Dill

Let’s explore these potential health benefits of dill in detail below.

May Aid Insomnia

The essential oils found in herbs have peculiar and powerful properties. They are considered to have ancient medicinal properties, simultaneously stimulating, sedative, and hypnotic. The essential oils in dill are no exception. The flavonoids and vitamin-B complex present in its essential oils activate the secretion of certain enzymes and hormones which are considered to have calming and hypnotic effects, thereby helping some people get a good night’s sleep.

A bunch of fresh green dill leaves on a wooden table

Maintains Bone Health

The calcium content of dill means that it contributes to adequate levels of calcium in the body, which in turn helps against the important element in protecting you from bone loss and the loss of bone mineral density. Osteoporosis affects millions of people each year, and calcium, along with other essential minerals, is a key component in the proper growth and development of bones and the repair of injured bones as well.

Manages Diabetes

Dill has long been associated with diabetes and the management of insulin levels. Despite the fact that research is somewhat limited in this area, particularly on human subjects, studies have indicated that it may help reduce the fluctuations of serum lipids and insulin levels in corticosteroid-induced diabetes. One study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research stated that laboratory rats that had corticosteroid-induced type 2 diabetes showed a decrease in serum glucose and insulin levels when they were given dill extract for 22 days. 

Prevents Excess Gas

As a well-known carminative, dill helps prevent the embarrassing condition of excessive gas. It is not only an uncomfortable condition to experience in public, but if gas continues to build up, it can actually be a dangerous situation where it presses on the delicate organs of the chest cavity. A carminative forces gas downward through the digestive tract and allow it to leave the body in a safe way.

Boosts Immunity

Dill has long been associated with antimicrobial activity. Therefore, frequent use of this herb in meals may help reduce the incidence of a number of microbial infections throughout the body, as well as infections that may result in open wounds or small cuts on the skin.

Calms Hiccups

Hiccups occur for various reasons, but primarily due to trapped gas and its repeated upward movement through the food pipe. The second cause is due to certain allergies, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity, and nervous malfunctioning. Dill can help in these situations. As a carminative, it helps the expulsion of gases and also reduces gas formation; while as a sedative, dill is thought to help calm down hiccups due to allergies, hyperactivity, or nervous disorders.

Diminishes Diarrhea

Diarrhea is mainly caused by two things; indigestion and microbial action. In terms of indigestion, dill can be quite helpful, as it has very good digestive properties. Secondly, the herb can help due to the monoterpenes and flavonoids present in its essential oils, which are germicidal or bactericidal in nature. They can help relieve diarrhea by inhibiting microbial infections that try to attack the body.

Relieves Arthritis Pain

Dill has long been known as an anti-inflammatory herb, meaning that it helps reduce inflammation and the associated pain of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Dill has been used since ancient times for precisely this reason.

Stimulates Menstruation

The flavonoids in the essential oil of dill are stimulating and have emmenagogue properties, which are thought in folk medicine to stimulate the secretion of certain hormones that help maintain proper menstrual cycles in women.

Treats Respiratory Disorders

Kaempferol and certain other components of flavonoids and monoterpenes in the essential oils of dill are anti-congestive and antihistaminic in nature. They are thought to help clear congestion in the respiratory system due to histamines, allergies or coughs.

Oral Care

Dill seeds and leaves act as good mouth and breath fresheners. Apart from that, the essential oils in it are germicidal, antioxidant, and disinfectant in nature. Due to these properties, they help to alleviate oral microbial infections and their antioxidants minimize the damage caused by free radicals to gums and teeth as well.

Other Benefits

Dill is a relaxant, and it increases strength and urination to help in the removal of toxins, excess salts, and water from the body. Furthermore, it is a carminative (helps remove excess gas), antispasmodic (prevents cramps), and an antiflatulent substance. It may have anti-cancer potential, as well, but further studies are needed to explore this claim.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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