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Dill Plant

Dill Plant

Botanical Description & Habitat

Anethum graveolens

Family
Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)

Habitat
Cultivated as spice, but grows wild in North and South America and in Europe.

Medicinal Parts
Fruit (seed)

See also
Dill Seed - Spice

Historical Properties & Uses

Dill seed is most often associated with pickling and other condiment applications, but it has a long history of use for gastrointestinal problems, as a carminative, stomachic and antispasmodic. It is also used as a calmative to eliminate insomnia, a diuretic, and as an ingredient in galactagogue remedies used by nursing mothers.

Dill is often made into a tea to stimulate the appetite, get rid of flatulence, and calm an upset stomach. A standard practice in Germany, a dill tea is used both internally and as an enema in the treatment of hemorrhoids.

Dill seed has approval status by the German Commission E for dyspepsia.

The herb (leaf and stem) have not achieved approval status by the German Commission E. Either there was insufficient evidence in favor, or a contraindication.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.


Method of Action

Dill is a Good Carminative
Many of the folklore uses of dill are derived from the character of its essential oil, which is high in carvone, and is responsible for stimulating stomach secretions, acting as a carminative, and as a diuretic. The antispasmodic action of dill has also been verified pharmacologically.

Dill is the carminative of choice in many situations, including flatulent dyspepsia, especially in infants.

CNS Effects of Dill
Interestingly, carvone by itself, is a central nervous system stimulant, but dill is used as a nervous system calmative. There may be important interactions in this herb that need more research.

Dill has Good Antibiotic Action
Dill essential oil has been shown to inhibit several micro-organisms: Bacillus antracis, B. mycoides, B. pumilus, E. coli, P. mangiferae, S. typhi, Sarcina lutea, S. albus, S. aureus, & X. campestris. Dill oil is often used in insecticides and pesticides.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions
Safrole, a potent inhibitor of microsomal hydroxylating systems and could result in toxicity from drugs normally metabolized by these systems.

Possible Interactions
The antacid nature of this herb may decrease or delay the absorption of nalidixic acid and the sulfonamides.

Due to the spasmolytic nature of this herb it may interact in unknown ways with CNS depressants or stimulants.

The known hepatotoxicity of safrole isolated from sassafras may increase the hepatotoxic effects of hydroxychloroquine sulfate, an antirheumatic agent.

Safrole may also increase the hepatotoxic effects of several other drugs, including antibiotics, antifungal, antituberculosis drugs.

Comments
There is evidence combining bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the '-static' variety. How this finding applies to herbal antibiotics is not known.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Dill may be a photosensitizer and cause dermatitis in some patients exposed to the sun, but this has not been reported in humans.

In normal doses, no side effects are apparent.

Since dill contains myristicin and dissapiol, which resemble safrole found in sassafras, it has been suggested dill may be carcinogenic.

There is no data to support this notion. Since myristicin in nutmeg is responsible for hallucinogenic effects when ingested in large quantities, it has been suggested perhaps dill is a psychoactive substance. There is no data to support this hypothesis either.

The German Commission E status for dill weed is "null" or neutral i.e. while it is not approved, there is no documented risk. There may also be some concern over the claims made by manufacturers i.e. they are unproven.

Dill seed has approval status by the German Commission E.

Dill herb is regarded as unapproved. The German Commission E status is "null" or neutral i.e. while it is not approved, there is no documented risk. There may also be some concern over the claims made by manufacturers i.e. they are unproven.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.



Preparation & Administration

Use three times daily

Dried fruits
1-4 gms or by infusion; dose 2-4 ml

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

3 g seed.
0.1 - 0.3 g essential oil.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Braun, H. & Frohne, D. Heilplanzen-Lexikon Fuer Aerzte und Apotheker. Gustav Fisher Verlag, Stuttgart, New York, 1987.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

Buchanan, R.L. Toxicity of spices containing methylenedioxybenzene derivatives. Journal of Food Safety, 1, 275-293, 1978.

Duke, J.A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, 1985.

Maruzzella, & Lichtenstein. The in vitro antibacterial activity of oils. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 45, 378-381, 1956.

Maruzella, & Sicurella. Antibacterial activity of essential oils. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 49(11), 692-694, 1960.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Ramadan, F.M. & H.T. El-Zanfaly. Antibacterial effects of some essential oils. II. Semisolid agar phase. Chem. Mikrobiol. Technol. Lebensm., 1, 96-102, 1972.

Shipochliev, T. Pharmacological investigation into several essential oils, first communication. Effect on the smooth musculature. Veterinarno Meditsinski Nauki, 5(6), 63-7, 1968.

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Anethum graveolens

? Southwest School of Botanical Medicine

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