Ask the Pharmacist: Why dill’s good for you

Suzy Cohen
Columnist
The dill plant is related to the “carrot” family of plants which sounds bizarre. Dill is an “umbellifer” which means it is related to asafoetida, caraway seeds, celery powder, parsley, coriander seeds and fennel.

Lately, I’ve been working on my herbal garden and just planted some rosemary and lavender. I saw dill plants available for purchase, but those won’t grow as a perennial in my Colorado area which is zone six because the herb won’t survive temperatures below 25 degrees.

Our winters always include temperatures in single digits, or below! So, a dill plant is not an option in my herb garden, however it might be for you, and today’s article is to tell you why a dill pickle’s good or you! I’m going to share the medicinal benefits of this delicious and ancient weed!

The dill plant is related to the “carrot” family of plants which sounds bizarre. Dill is an “umbellifer” which means it is related to asafoetida, caraway seeds, celery powder, parsley, coriander seeds and fennel. An allergy to one of the spices may mean you have a cross sensitivity to the others listed here. 

Anethum graveolens, commonly called dill or dill weed, has been used for eons because it has incredible health benefits for your intestinal tract. It can help with diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion and stomach pain. It stimulates appetite too. Active constituents in dill stimulate and activate digestive juices and bile so it aids digestion. 

Dill has a lot of iron, magnesium and vitamin B6. Since it contains many antioxidants like vitamin C, and natural beta carotene, it reduces damage from free radicals. It’s great for kidney and urinary tract health, as well as the brain, heart and eye tissue. As an added perk, dill may help to lower LDL cholesterol very slightly.

Just a note of caution, dill supplements have mild diuretic properties so if you take a supplement, that might mean you lose water more rapidly. This is helpful for people with hypertension, however, the it could be a problem for some people who take lithium for example. Talk to your doctor about using a dill supplement which is concentrated. This warning does not apply if you are sprinkling a dash of dried dill spice or adding a sprig of fresh dill on your meal. 

Here are some ways you can incorporate fresh dill into your day ...

  • Put on top of vegetables during the last two minutes of roasting.
  • Add it to potato salad.
  • Use it in soup.
  • Make a tzatziki sauce and add dill.
  • Make dill pickles!
  • Put it on top of fish before you cook.
  • Make a “tea” by steeping sprigs of dill for five minutes in water, add honey/lemon.
  • Scissor a small sprig of dill into your garden salad. 

Some people wonder if drying dill is better than freezing it. I recommend freezing it and it’s very easy. Rinse fresh dill of impurities in water and shake off the excess, then pat the sprigs dry. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and put in freezer to flash freeze them. Later, you can transfer the frozen dill sprigs to a storage bag and keep in the freezer for up to six months. If you are supplementing with dill tablets, please make sure you ask your doctor if it’s right for you, especially if you already take blood pressure pills or diuretics. 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.