Common Name: Dill
Scientific Name: Anethum graveolens L.
Family Name: Apiaceae
Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called “dill weed” or “dillweed” to distinguish it from dill seed) are widely used as herbs in Europe and central Asia. Like caraway, the fernlike leaves of dill are aromatic and are used to flavor many foods such as gravlax (cured salmon) and other fish dishes, borscht, and other soups, as well as pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried, however, freeze-dried dill leaves retain their flavor relatively well for a few months. Dill oil is extracted from the leaves, stems, and seeds of the plant. The oil from the seeds is distilled and used in the manufacturing of soaps. Dill is the eponymous ingredient in dill pickles.
With its name derived from the Old Norse word “dilla,” which means to soothe, dill has been used since ancient times to treat colic in infants and digestive diseases, as well as to help with breastfeeding. Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that help protect cells against damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. As a result, research suggests that consuming foods rich in antioxidants may help reduce chronic inflammation and prevent or even treat certain conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain forms of cancer.