What is Dill Seed?
The dill plant is a type of perennial herb. The seeds of a dill plant are called dill seeds. They are used as spices in food preparations such as pickles and soups. Dill seeds are popular in India as well as in different Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and in the Mediterranean for its amorous flavour and digestive properties.
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Dill Seed Scientific Name
The scientific name for Dill plant is “Anethum graveolens”.
How to Grow Dill from Seed
Dill plants tend to be very tall, almost around 36 inches. It is thus important to grow this plant in a place where it can get a lot of sunshine. While growing dill from seed care needs to be taken to protect the plant from harsh winds due to its tall stature. They can be grown in any climate suitable for gardening, which makes it possible for it to grow in both colder and warmer climates. While planting dill, it is better to plant them near onions as that can be beneficial for both plants. Likewise, dill seeds should not be planted near cabbages or carrots as they are not mutually compatible.
Before planting dill seeds, you need to first prepare the soil by digging it deeply as a dill seed tends to grow a long root while germination and space should be provided for its proper growth. Longer growth of roots enables the dill plant to sustain brutal storms and winds in a more effective way. The seeds should be covered with a layer of soil. Phosphorus-rich bone meal and good organic manure should also be added to increase the fertility of the soil. The soil should be made fertile and well drained. Sandy loam can also be added to make the soil more suitable for dill growth.
Dill seeds can be planted either during springtime or in the fall. If planted during springtime, dill plants produce seeds quickly. On the other hand, planting them during the fall enables the seed to germinate by itself when the conditions are appropriate. Planting dill during the time of mid-July can enable you to get ripening seeds.
Dill seeds start sprouting seedlings quickly, within a span of two weeks from sowing. The seedlings should be thinned by 8 to 12 inches when they are young. An additional dill crop can be planted every couple of weeks in order to extend the harvest.
While harvesting dill seeds, the plants are required to be watered with regular intervals. With longer growth of its roots, the irrigation system should be modified accordingly to enable the water reach the deepest parts of its roots.
Dill plants are self-seeding, which means that once planted they continue to keep growing season after season on their own. Dill plants grow yellow flowers, and can also be grown indoors under the influence of fluorescence lights.
Harvesting Dill Seeds
Dill plants take 6 to 8 weeks to be ready for harvest. The leaf production continues for around 2 months. You can harvest leaves from the plant as you need them throughout its growing season. As flowers begin to appear, it marks the end of leaf production. If what you want is mainly to harvest the leaves, you can periodically cut the plant’s upper portion close to around 2 inches from ground surface as you see flowers sprouting their heads. These plant cuttings may then be stored in freezer for many weeks.
After the seeds have ripened, they turn brown. The seeds are typically 4 to 5 mm long and oval in shape. While harvesting, collect the inflorescences and group some of them together. Then hang the flowers upside down by attaching a bag over the group of flowers and leave them to dry in an airy and warm place. Some of the seeds that will fall off the flowers will get collected on the bag and you can collect the rest of the seeds once they are dry.
Dill Seed Uses
These seeds are widely used for their medicinal purposes. They are also used in the preparation of several dishes like jellies, sauces, pickles and salads. Dill seeds are also often used in the preparation of soaps. They can be substituted for salt. In countries like Russia, the Baltic, central Asia and Sweden, fresh dried leaves of the dill plant are used like herbs. Dill seeds are also used in making dill seed oil which has health benefits.
Medicinal Properties of Dill Seeds
Dill seeds produce polyacetylenes. It is a chemical which helps in preventing cancer. This chemical also prevents growth of yeast, mould and bacteria and acts as a protective agent against tumours. Regular intake of dill seeds in food can reduce the chances of formation of stomach gases, reduce muscle spasms, soothe heartburn and ease colic. They are also a galactogogue, which makes them indispensable for nursing mothers. Dill seeds also have chlorophyll which helps in treatment of bad breath.
Dill seed essential oil is extracted from the dill seeds which help in lowering glucose levels and providing relief to patients having high blood sugar level. Dill seed oil also brings relief from congestion, bronchial catarrh, hiccups, vomiting and dry heaves. Dill seed oil is also a good antiseptic.
Dill Seed Essential Oil
Dill seed essential oil is extracted from the dill seeds which is known for its many health benefits. Dill seed essential oil has a pale yellow color and a spicy, grassy aroma. Steam distillation process is used to extract oil from dill seeds or the dill leaves.
Essential oils of dill seeds contain various chemical components like
Benefits of Dill Seed Essential Oil
The various health benefits of dill seed essential oil are discussed below:
- Dill seeds essential oils are used as an anti spasmodic agent. They bring relief from irritating spasms that can sometimes be very fatal. Spasms often cause muscle pulls or cramps, continuous coughs, convulsions, congestion, bronchial catarrh, dry heaves, hiccups and epileptic attacks which can even cause someone to collapse from pain. Dill seed oil soothes the muscles, nerves, respiratory organs and intestines and gives quick relief from spasmodic attacks.
- Dill seed oils act as a carminative and gives relief from gas troubles. Apart from removing intestinal gas it also prevents gas formation.
- Dill seed oils also help in digestion by promoting secretion of the digestive juices such as gastric juices and acids. By promoting salivation, it also promotes primary digestion as a person takes his food in. It also facilitates in intestinal peristaltic movement which again help in smooth digestion.
- Dill oil acts as a disinfectant. When added to food, they protect food from getting ruined by bacteria and other microbes. Consuming dill oil also heals microbial infection in kidneys, urinary tract, colon and genitals. External use of dill oil delivers protection from skin infections and help in healing wounds quickly. Dill oil when applied on the hair and the scalp protects hair from lice and various infections.
- Dill seed essential oil is a galactogogue, which means that this oil facilitates milk formation in breasts and brings enhancement in milk quality. This property makes it indispensable for lactating mothers and babies. Also using dill oil makes it possible for its digestive and carminative properties to get combined with mother’s milk and protects the baby from indigestion, flatulence and gas.
- The name of dill seed is derived from Saxon word ‘dilla’, which means ‘to lull’. Dill oil has a calming and sedating effect on the nervous system and dissolves the problems of depression, anxiety, nervousness, tension, hypertension and anger, thus helping one to sleep well.
- Dill seed essential oil acts as a stomachic and helps in maintaining good health of the stomach by regulating proper secretion of juices helping in digestion and bile. It offers protection from stomach infections. Dill seed oil also heals stomach wounds and ulcers that one might suffer from.
- Dill oil is a sudorific and facilitates sweating and removes excess water, salt and other toxic substances that might be there in the body, making a person feel light and relaxed. Dill oil also lowers blood pressure, helps in reduction of swelling and maintains the health of the skin. Dill oil can also be used as a lotion or cream and applied externally, which improves skin quality.
- Dill oil cures constipation and colic problems.
Dill seed essential oil is non-irritant, non-toxic and non-sensitizing but it is best to avoid them during pregnancy. Dill oil nicely combines with caraway, bergamot, nutmeg and citrus oils like lime, orange and lemon.
For availing the health benefits of dill seed, you can also drink dill seed tea.
Substitutes for Dill Seed
If you want to buy dill seeds but see that they are unavailable, you can use dill leaves as a substitute for dill seeds. Celery seeds or caraway seeds can also act as dill seed substitutes.
Dill Seed Recipes
Dill seeds create a lemony-pine flavour much like fennel and caraway. They are added to meat dishes to enhance their flavour. Dill Seeds are also used in various soups as well as appetizers like gravlax. Fresh dill seeds have a strong flavour which withers away once the seeds become dry. Mok pa is a Lao cuisine that specifically uses dill seeds. Many fish and prawn dishes prepared with coconut milk make the use of dill seeds. Serbia uses dill seeds in French fries and potato salads. They are also used in the preparation of poached salmon.
Where to Buy Dill Seed?
If you are interested to buy dill seeds and wondering where you can get them, you can visit any spices and herbs store or order them online, and you can get them at very affordable prices.
Dill seeds are available throughout the world and they are known by different names in different places, such as Shevid in Iran, Mirodjija in Serbia and ain jaradeh in Arabia.
- by Prasenjit Banerjee
- August 16th 2011