Medicinal plants

Dill - ingredients, effects, use and instructions for your own cultivation

Dill herb - spice and medicinal plant at the same time

Dill is one of our most common spices and is known to everyone from pickled cucumbers. That is why this umbellifer is also called cucumber herb. The herb is less well known as a medicinal plant. The active ingredients have it all.

  • Dill contains many vitamins, minerals and essential oil.
  • It promotes digestion and helps with flatulence, has a slight antibacterial effect and inhibits inflammation.
  • These effects are less pronounced than those of its relatives caraway, anise and fennel.
  • The seeds taste much more intense than the leaves and are therefore best suited for teas.
  • The herb can be used in many ways in the kitchen.


Dried dill contains 0.35% essential oil, 3.3% potassium, 1.7% calcium and 0.2% sodium. The fruits have up to 8% essential oils, and they provide the typical taste, more precisely Phellandren and Dillether. There are also coumarins and caffeic acid derivatives. The herb contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, A, C and E.

Medicinal effects and use of dill

Dill fruits stimulate digestion, help against flatulence and relieve cramps. So they're great for reducing bloating and relieving gastrointestinal cramps, which also explains why dill is so popular as a culinary herb.

The seeds boiled in water and wine are effective against stomach ache and flatulence. Dill leaves in hot water as a steam bath, relieve cramps in the abdomen. Traditionally, the plant was also considered a remedy for menstrual problems, scientifically proven that it promotes the release of the female hormone progesterone.

Historical applications

Traditional applications have not been scientifically proven. For example, ancient doctors used it for headaches, constipation and for cleaning the uterus. It should help against stomach ache, vomiting and gas. Hildegard von Bingen recommended him for lung diseases and nosebleeds. Pharmacists sold dill for hiccups and cramps in the lower abdomen.

Folk medicine used cucumber herb less intensely than related umbelliferae such as anise, caraway or fennel. These work in a similar way, but are a lot more effective. You can take seeds and leaves of the herb against indigestion, lack of appetite, insomnia and heartburn.

The medicinal plant also lowers blood pressure simply by eating dishes with dill herb or seeds more often.

Recipes for tea and wine with dill

We take dill as a medicinal plant in the form of a tea. Only the seeds are in this. We take about three grams of seeds for a large cup of till tea. The tea tastes similar to fennel tea, but not quite as sweet.

Dill wine helps you fall asleep. To do this, heat a glass of white wine and pour the hot wine over a teaspoon of dill seeds. They let everything steep for several minutes, pour off the wine and drink it in small sips.

Biological aspects

The plant is annual and grows from seeds. It reaches a maximum of 75 cm, mostly less, is smooth, light green and has an intense fragrance. The stems grow upright, the leaves remind a feathery circle, which is reminiscent of fennel.

As umbellifera it carries double umbels with up to 50 rays and a diameter of up to 15 cm and overgrown sepals. Insects and beetles pollinate the flowers. Flowering begins in May and extends into August, the split fruits ripen between July and September and spread with the wind or cling to them.

An old crop

The ancient Egyptians cultivated the herb for the same reasons as today - as a spice and for healing. The Greeks and Romans used its aroma in the kitchen. Dill herb was already a cultivated plant at the time, the wild dill probably comes from the Near East.

The Bible literally calls him: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, who tithe mint, dill and caraway, and leave behind the most difficult thing in law, namely judgment, mercy and faith!" (Matthew 23:23)

In the Middle Ages it mainly served as a medicinal plant. Dill potions were consumed by people to promote digestion, the fruit replaced the mouthwash, and our ancestors drank tea for stomach problems.

Growing dill yourself - Instructions and tips

We can grow cucumber herb indoors as well as outdoors, in the open soil or in pots. Garden dill has hardly any requirements. The soil should not be too compact and it does not like waterlogging. At around 15 degrees, sow it directly outdoors. Before doing this, loosen the soil. In spring and summer, you sow again regularly, then you can always harvest freshly. They make a groove in the ground and distribute the seeds evenly.

If the dill reaches 15 cm, you can harvest the herb - as required. From about 30 cm you should cut and store the whole plant. Moist soils with a high proportion of compost are ideal, but she likes slightly acidic soils. In the field we can see the seeds directly from March, or let the seeds germinate in the apartment and plant them later. It sprouts in the dark and in the cold. A phase before germination with temperatures of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius is perfect.

It takes three weeks to germinate. We harvest from late May to October. We harvest the green herb before flowering begins. After that, we only harvest the seeds. We store dried leaves and seeds in airtight containers.

The leaves can also be soaked in oil or deep-frozen. Dill herb wrapped in aluminum foil in the fridge can be kept for up to three weeks, cut into small pieces and frozen for at least one year. To dry it, tie it in the fresh air to bouquets, hang them upside down and have a stock that will last for years.

Dill in the kitchen

Dill herb tastes a little bit fresh when fresh. The taste of the seeds is much more obtrusive, bitter with more than a hint of caraway. Therefore connoisseurs sweeten dill tea with honey.

Dill is an all-rounder among culinary herbs. It fits in herb butter, herb quarks, yoghurts and salad dressings. As a seasoning, it is good in fish dishes, for example for salmon and trout, and the herb is also suitable for boiled potatoes. Leaves and umbels belong to pickled cucumbers, but like the herb, zucchini and beans also add that certain something.

A friend of onions and lemon

The popular spice herb harmonizes with lemon, coriander, basil and pepper, as well as with onions, wild garlic, chives, leek, garlic, mustard seeds and parsley.

Fish such as salmon, trout or pikeperch are rubbed into this mixture, added crushed pepper and salt and left to stand in the fridge for two days before preparing the fish.

Important: Cook dill only briefly, if at all. The aroma does not tolerate excessive heat and it tastes best fresh. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


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