Herbs are an integral part of a balanced plant-based diet. There are an array of herbs with incredible flavors, aromas, and textures for cooking, and many herbs have health benefits cultivated throughout human history. While there are hundreds of herbs offering individual benefits and uses one of the most unique is dill weed.
Americans consume over 2.5 billion pounds of dill a year. The savory, earthy, and spicy flavoring of dill weed sets it apart from its herbal counterparts. This unique set of flavors broadens its applications and makes it easier to use in your everyday life.
What is Dill Weed?
Dill Weed is an aromatic herb — herbs with pleasantly strong odors and properties that relax the digestive and nervous systems. While dill is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia, it’s been referenced in Ancient Egyptian texts as far back as 3000 years. Dill is part of the apiaceae family, which includes other aromatic herbs such as parsley, chervil, coriander, and anise.
Dill is a delicate, beautiful, and romantic herb. In its natural state, it is bright green with a long, slender stalk which sprouts edible leaves.
Dill can be consumed fresh, dried, or via essential oils. The edible parts of the dill plant are the feathery leaves and the seeds. Dill leaves can be used fresh or dried and are generally used for cooking, in tea, as poultices, and as an essential oil. Due to its delicate nature, fresh dill is easily bruised and therefore requires careful handling and storing until use. Dill seeds, tear-shaped pods with light colored exteriors and dark centers are used as a spice. Dill seed is commonly compared to caraway and fennel with its hot and earthy punch, as well as its licorice-like, bitter flavor.
Dill weed is also packed with nutrients that complement a balanced plant-based diet. A cup of dill weed sprigs offers sodium (5.4 mg), dietary fiber (.2 grams), and protein (.3 grams), as well as vitamins A (14%) and C (13%), calcium (2%), and iron (3%). DIll weed also has small amounts of folate, flavonoids, and manganese.
Buying and Growing Dill Weed
Dried and fresh dill weed is available at most mainstream markets and grocery stores. Depending on the season and crop health, fresh dill generally costs $1.50 per ounce, $8 for a half pound, or $14 for a pound. Dried dill weed is also available for purchase online via suppliers such as Amazon. You can buy in bulk, such as McCormick’s 2.75-ounce package for $10.86, or in smaller quantities, such as Simply Organic’s .81-ounce container for $4.72.
If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, try planting dill weed in your spring garden!
Dill weed is surprisingly easy to grow. It is resilient to poor soil quality and can survive overwatering and drought. It’s recommended to plant your dill from the seed instead of transplanting. Make sure that the last winter frost has come and gone before planting. Scatter your dill seeds across a dry, warm, and sunny patch of your garden and then cover lightly soil. Water heavily in the beginning. Then, continue to keep watered throughout the season.
Treating Aches and Pains with Dill Weed
While dill weed has an array of health benefits — from relieving gas, insomnia, diarrhea, and hiccups to preventing conditions and diseases including menstrual and respiratory disorders, cancers, and bone degradation — its most popular uses are for curing bodily aches and pains. Here are a few of the aches and pains dill can help treat.
1. Relieve Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is an umbrella term that refers to joint pain or disease that manifests as swelling. It also creates stiffness, a decrease in range of motion, and pain. While there are over 100 different types of arthritis, the most common include degenerative or osteoarthritis (the wearing down of joint cartilage), inflammatory (uncontrolled inflammation in the joints), infectious (bacterium, virus, or fungi that triggers inflammation in the joints), and metabolic (buildup of uric acid in the joints).
Dill weed is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help manage arthritis pain by naturally decreasing the amount of inflammation in the joints. Its anti-inflammatory properties stem from carvone — a chemical that is part of the terpenoid family found in caraway, spearmint, and dill — and limonene — a chiral molecule prevalent in the oil of citrus peels that is a precursor to carvone. Research suggests that both carvone and limonene aid in reducing inflammation.
2. Treat Respiratory Disorders
Respiratory disorder or respiratory disease refers to conditions that stymie the exchange of gas within the body. These include a range of conditions including the common cold, pneumonia, asthma, and even lung cancer.
When it comes to dill weed, its medicinal properties have been shown to treat mild respiratory disorders including the common cold and the flu, bronchitis, and even asthma. Dill weed includes nutrients such as flavonoids — phytonutrients that give plants their coloring — and monoterpenes — terpenes occurring in plant life with high antimicrobial properties. These nutrients have anti-congestive and anti-histaminic properties, which help clear respiratory pathways.
3. Boost Digestive Health
Your digestive health relies on running food waste smoothly. The quicker food waste moves through your large intestine and into the bowel, the quicker you can rid yourself of the extra product that can cause bloat, gas, nausea, and pain.
When steeped as a tea or used as an essential oil, dill weed can help ease digestive pain. It soothes your stomach, eases heartburn, and can stimulate “the bile and digestive juices that make you digest your food quicker.” While aiding in curing digestive issues, dill weed can also treat the symptoms such as reducing bloating, gas, and intestinal cramps. It also helps to avoid constipation-related conditions such as hemorrhoids.
4. Menstruation and Nursing
Many women suffer from sluggish or sporadic menstrual cycles. This can be difficult, frustrating, and oftentimes painful. From unexpected bleeding to intensely painful menstrual cramps, being able to invigorate a healthy menstrual cycle is the key to a healthy female body.
An essential part of dill weed are emmenagogues, which are herbs that encourage menstruation. Specifically, dill weed has small amounts of apiole, which is one of the strongest emmenagogues available. Not only does apiole encourage a healthy menstrual cycle, but it also stimulates milk production for nursing mothers and can help soothe infants with upset stomachs.
Cooking with Dill Weed
While dill weed has many health benefits, it’s also incredibly tasty! Whether freshly chopped from your herb garden, soaked in a tea, or used as a garnish, dill is a great aromatic herb to include in your plant-based diet. Here are a few ideas on how to cook with dill to get you started.
Spring Kale and Dill Soup With Rice/One Green Planet
One of the most delicious ways to use dill is in soups and stews. When freshly chopped, dill leaves release powerful, nutrient-rich, essential oils. Add a handful of freshly chopped dill to any soup or stew and these oils will soak into the liquid and content of the dish. The heat also amplifies and releases more of the savory and spicy flavor of dill weed. Try a few of these dill-based soup recipes: Easy Italian Wedding Soup With White Bean Balls, Cream of Celery Soup, Spring Kale and Dill Soup With Rice, or Stewed Artichokes With Fava Beans.
Creamy Beet and Dill Linguine/One Green Planet
While cooking dill weed with heat is a great way to release flavor, your body receives the most nutrients when it’s served raw. That’s why dill weed is a great addition to salad recipes. Keep in mind that dill is bitter, spicy, and power, so moderation is key! Mixing dill with other powerful and sweet flavors can create a delicious balance of flavor in salads including this Nicoise Salad with Grilled Orange Tofu, this Potato Salad, this Creamy Beet and Dill Linguine, or even on top of your salad in this Creamy Cucumber Herb Dressing.
Acorn Squash With Grains/One Green Planet
Dill is also a great herb to use in comfort foods, especially when you’re not feeling well. By infusing hearty recipes with dill, you not only amplify savory flavors, but you also receive the medicinal properties such as soothing the stomach, aiding in sleep, relieving congestion, and helping to relax the body. Cook yourself some dill-based comfort dishes such as Vegetable Pot Pie With Dill-Mustard Sauce, Chickpea, Pumpkin, and Dill Burgers, Persian Herb Frittata, Acorn Squash With Grains, or this Grilled Asparagus Quinoa Risotto.
To explore more dill recipes we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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