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In olden days, dill was used to calm down colicky babies.

· Spice

I came home drenched in sweat from long playful hours from playground. As an 8-year-old, those summer evenings of uninterrupted playing period with friends, was most cherished time. I yanked shoes out of my feet and ran to the kitchen announcing, “I am super hunger Mo……m, I can eat horse right now”. I was thrilled to witness the piping hot green gravy of spinach-dill curry on the stove. Lifting the lid, I admired the bubbles and leaned in to fill my nostrils with the pleasant, flavorful aroma…. Mom while rolling roti shouted “please… wash your hands and feet first”.

This is my fondest memory of the dill curry and till date dill remains one of my favorite greens. Isn’t it interesting to witness how memories decide our likings or aversions for the food?
Who would have thought that such routine ritual will become a beautiful memory and will imprint my love for Dill herb?

Dill is native to Southern Russia, Western Africa and the Mediterranean region. It is commonly used in Greece, Scandinavia, Germany, Central Europe, Russia and Romania. It belongs to the same family celery, parsley and carrots.

It is annual plant with tiny divided pointy leaves and lean hollow stems. Everything including leaves, seeds and oil is used for medicinal and culinary purposes. The leaves have sweet taste like fennel, but the seeds are bitter, stronger and flavorful like caraway seeds.

Exploring Dill

Dill contains flavonoids, minerals, amino acids and fiber. It is rich in vitamins A, B and C and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.

Dill is mostly used for garnishing or seasoning and sometimes as one of the main ingredients in some soups and sauces. Indians make curries or dal/lentil soup using dill leaves. In US dill pickles are very popular, where dill is used to spice the pickle.

In olden days, dill was used to calm down colicky babies. As it has carminative properties, it helped soothe the baby’s bellies from digestive issues. In old Norse, a North Germanic language “Dilla” meant “to Lull” meaning to calm. As Dill helped to calm the colicky babies, it is believed to have acquired the name “Dill".

Health benefit

1. Dill is excellent for bone health

Dill can help maintain bone health and prevent age related bone loss. Dill is loaded with bone helping minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron.
Just 1 tablespoon of dill seeds contains as much calcium as one-third glass of milk.
This can help prevent loss of bone mineral density and can protect from bone related illnesses like osteoporosis. Dill is an excellent option for vegans and people who are sensitive to dairy.

2. Dill can help with Insomnia
Dill contains powerful and essential oils that can help encourage sound sleep.
The essential oils in dill are very interesting, they have both stimulating as well as sedative properties.
The B vitamins and flavonoids in these oils leads to the secretion of enzymes and hormones that can create a calming effect before going to sleep.

3. Dill can help in digestion

Dill can help cure any digestive disorders including flatulence, indigestion, stomachache, abdominal cramping, constipation and diarrhea. The essential oils from dill trigger the secretion of bile and digestive juices. These oils stimulate the peristaltic movement of the intestine, facilitating the bowel passage and relieving constipation. Dill’s antibiotic and antimicrobial properties makes it an exceptional remedy for dysentery and diarrhea.

Using in the kitchen

1. Make a delicious cooling dip with dill weed, plain yogurt and chopped cucumber.
2. Make another version of the dip with dill weed, plain yogurt, diced onion and chopped tomatoes.
3. Add finely chopped dill leaves to the salad.
4. Just mixing dill weed with plain yogurt can be used as a unique dressing for carrots, cucumbers or beets.
5. Toss fresh dill leaves on cooked potatoes or roasted vegetables.
6. Try a different version of pesto sauce by substituting regular basil with dill weed.
7. Use dill weed to garnish the sandwiches.

Home remedies

1. Place Dill seeds with fennel seeds in a small dish on the dinner table for everyone to enjoy after meals for better digestion.
2. Mix equal amount of dill seeds and fenugreek seeds and grind them into a powder. Take 1 tsp twice a day to lower raised blood pressure.
3. Make Dill tea by boiling 1-2 tsp dill seeds in 1 cup water. Let it steep for few mins and enjoy warm. This can help in insomnia, digestive issues as well as for bone health.

4. Chew dill seeds regularly to get rid of bad breath.