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Health Corner - Kitchen Herbs: Dill (soya/suwa)

Pratibha Shah

In this article I’ll tell you the nutritional and health benefits of Dill, a plant very similar to Fennel. Dill is a short-lived perennial herb. Its botanical name is Anethum sowa and it is known as ‘Shatpushpa’ (hundred flowers) in Sanskrit. Dill is native to Central Asia, southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region. The Dill plant (also known as dill weed) is easily available in all grocery stores; and the Dill seeds are commonly eaten after meals in India, to aid digestion and as a mouth freshener.

According to Ayurved, it is light in digestion, a little tangy and bitter in taste, and hot in potency. The parts and the products generally used from this herb are seeds, leaves, root and the oil.

Two important types of chemicals found in the Dill plant are monoterpenes and flavonoids, which impart anti-oxidant properties to the plant. Dill seed and weed are a very good source of calcium, and a good source of the minerals manganese and iron. Also, the volatile oil portion of dill has been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

I am enlisting a few conditions below, where Dill can be used effectively:

-    In digestive disorders of children, especially in distension and colic, distilled water (‘ark’) of Dill is given, alone or mixed with purified limewater.
-    Decoction of Dill is used in women after delivery, for indigestion, vomiting, hiccups, distension, and as a galactogogue.
-     Its leaves are steamed, coated with a suitable oil and then tied on to boils or applied on pimples, to help in faster resolution.
-    In swelling of joints, a paste of its leaves and root, applied to the joints is very beneficial, as the leaves and roots have analgesic and anti – inflammatory properties.
-    It has bacteriostatic properties and hence can be effectively used in certain skin disorders.
-    As it has diuretic property, it can be used in painful micturition.
-    Its decoction has been found to be effective in de-worming (especially in hookworms).
-    Due to its anti spasmodic properties, it can be used in painful menstruation, lower abdomen pains and scanty periods. For these conditions, it is best to use a fresh decoction of the seeds.
-    It is also used in bringing the fever down by inducing sweating.

So next time you go shopping for your greens, try Dill. You not only get your fiber, but also a whole lot of health benefits. More next time!!!

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