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Dill Herb Desciption: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Taxonomic Class

Apiaceae

Common Trade Names

Atkinson & Barker's Gripe Mixture, Concentrated Dill Water BPC 1973, Neo, Neo Baby Mixture, Nurse Harvey's Gripe Mixture, Woodward's Gripe Water

Common Forms

Available as dill oil, distilled or concentrated dill water, and dried fruits.

Source

All parts of the plant are used, but most products use the dried ripe fruit, seeds, or flowers of Anethum graveolens, a member of the carrot family.

Chemical Components

Dill plants contain volatile oil (carvone, d-limonene, eugenol, and antheole), flavonoids (including kaempferol, quercetin, and isorhamnetin), coumarins, xanthone derivatives, triterpenes, phenolic acids, proteins, fixed oil, myristicin, dillapiole, paraffins, and phellandrene.

Actions

Dill is believed to have antiflatulent, antispasmodic, aromatic, lactogenic, and soporific actions.

Reported Uses

Dill is a common ingredient in "gripe water;' used to relieve flatulence and colic in infants. It is also used in breast-feeding patients and in cattle to help promote the flow of milk . The oil has been used for its antifoaming and antiflatulent action to improve appetite and digestion. The seeds have been used to treat abdominal pain, halitosis (on chewing), and hiccups and to strengthen the nails when the hands are soaked in a decoction. No controlled human studies support these claims. One Bulgarian study concluded that dill oil has weak choleretic effects and should be used with other drugs for benefit .

Dosage

Some sources suggest the following doses:

Concentrated dill water: 0.2 ml P.O. t.i.d.

Dill oil: 0.05 to 2 ml P.O. t.i.d.

Distilled dill water: 2 to 4 ml P.O. t.i.d.

Dried fruits: 1 to 4 g P.O. t.i.d.

Adverse Reactions

None reported.

Interactions

None reported.

Contraindications And Precautions

Dill weed is contraindicated in patients who require a low-salt diet because of its high sodium content. Use cautiously in patients with plant allergies because dill has allergenic components that may demonstrate cross-sensitivity in some people.

Special Considerations

  • Periodically monitor serum electrolyte levels, particularly sodium, in patients who take dill.

  • Inform the patient that the potentially beneficial effects of dill remain unproved and the safety profile is unknown.

  • Recommend that the patient seek medical advice before taking the herb.

  • Reinforce the importance of a low-sodium diet in patients who require it.

Points of Interest

  • The name dill is believed to have originated from the Norse word dilla (to lull) because of its sedative and antiflatulent properties.

  • In the Middle Ages, dill was used by magicians in their potions and magic spells and was grown in gardens as a charm against witchcraft and enchantments.

Commentary

Clinical data for dill are extremely limited. No trial data from the United States support its use for flatulence or colic in infants or as a stimulant for milk flow, although this appears to be the primary medicinal claim in the herbal literature. More studies are needed to determine the effects of dill in children and adults.

   

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