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Dill Herb: Benefits and Uses

Dill, also known as dill seed, benth and dill weed, has a long history of culinary and medicinal use. Dill is an annual, growing to about 3 ft. The small, yellow flowers are clustered on flat heads from midsummer. The seeds are oval, flat, ribbed, and light brown.

With its refreshing, anise flavor, dill seeds and leaves are used in vegetable, egg, lamb, and shellfish dishes, in soups, salads, sandwiches, pickles, dressings, and vinegars.

The dill seeds contain a volatile oil that has a relaxant effect on muscles, especially those of the digestive tract, and has been used for centuries to cure such problems. Teas made with dill seed relieve indigestion and nausea, and produce a lulling effect. Gripe water is made with dill seed specifically as a remedy for colic in infants.

Even Charlemagne, in the 8th century knew of the curative properties of dill seed. He ordered a crystal vial of it placed on his banquet tables to stop the hiccups of guests who ate and drank too much.

Dill is also very rich in minerals, vitamin C and flavonoids. One tablespoon of seeds contains 100 milligrams of calcium more than in 1/3 cup of milk.

Dill is often confused with fennel, as the leaves, seeds, and flavor are similar the feathery leaves are darker green, and smaller than fennel's. However, mistakes are not serious, as both are very mild, and have a similar action.

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