Dill comes from the same plant family as fennel-the Apiacea (Umbelliferae) – and both the herb and the oil have certain properties in common. Dill is native to Mediterranean countries but is now grown all over the world for use as a culinary and medicinal herb and for the production of its oil. The oil is produced in several countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England. Dill is a tall annual or biennial plant. It has feathery leaves and yellow flowers and produces copious quantities of small aromatic seeds. Both the seeds and the flowers are used extensively in cookery. The gentle flavor, like that of aniseed, makes a pleasing companion to fish dishes in particular. Dill has been appreciated as a digestive aid for a very long time and it is one of the ingredients of gripe water which is used to relieve colic in children.
Two oils are distilled from dill: one from the plant, either fresh or dried, and another from the seed. Essential oil of dill is used extensively in the food and drinks industries as a flavoring, particularly in alcoholic beverages and pickles. Dill oil is also used in the manufacture of various cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products as a perfuming ingredient and has some uses in the pharmaceutical industry in addition to this.
Dill oil is primarily used for the benefit of the digestive system in aromatherapy. It is carminative and antispasmodic so, when used in massage in particular, will relieve uncomfortable and distressing flatulence and colic. It also acts as a general aid to digestion.
Dill oil, like fennel oil, can be used to help promote lactation in nursing mothers. It can also be used to treat amenorrhoea (absence of mensturation).
Used in a vaporizer, dill will combine successfully with a variety of other essential oils to give a room a pleasant fragrance.
Suitable methods of use
Dill oil is nontoxic, non-sensitizing and generally nonirritant, although it may cause some irritation to those with very sensitive skins. Warning: Avoid use during pregnancy.