Once considered as a magic potion, dill oil is an essential oil that does wonders for all ages, from babies who suffer colic to mothers who want to increase their milk production. In this article, I'll discuss about the many uses and benefits of dill oil.
What Is Dill Oil?
In the olden times, Romans applied dill oil topically before charging into battle because they believed that it could reduce nervousness and stress. It was also believed that the oil can protect against witchcraft as well as used as an ingredient for love potions.1 Today, dill oil is known for its versatility; it has a number of properties ranging from antioxidant and antifungal to antibacterial. This essential oil is usually used for digestive support, specifically for indigestion or constipation.2
Dill, the plant from which dill oil is obtained, has two variants: Anethum graveolens (European dill), which is cultivated in England, Germany, Romania, Turkey, USA, and Russia and Anethum Sowa (Indian dill), which is cultivated in many parts of India as a cold weather crop.
There are two types of dill oil: dill seed oil and dill weed oil. The former is obtained from the mature seeds through steam distillation, and the latter is obtained through steam distillation of fresh herbs.
The two types of dill oil also differ in odor and color. While the color of dill seed oil is a slightly yellowish to light brown liquid, dill weed oil is a pale yellow to yellow liquid. The dill seed oil is known for its caraway-like aroma because it has a higher carvone content compared to dill weed oil. Dill weed oil, on the other hand, emits a strong, fresh and somewhat spicy aromatic odor.3
Uses of Dill Oil
There are several uses of dill oil, but it is popularly used in medicine, food, perfume and soap manufacturing because of its pleasant aroma. It's known for its healing properties, such as:
• Antimicrobial — It contains a high concentration of carvone.
• Antispasmodic — Its relaxing and calming effect can help pacify spasmodic attacks.
• Sedative — It also has a sedating effect that may aid in inducing drowsiness.
Dill oil also promotes milk production for nursing mothers as helps treat breast congestion due to nursing.4 When mixed in lotions or creams, dill oil can be used to help heal wounds. I also recommend using it in vapor therapy for calming the nerves and relieving tension.
Composition of Dill Oil
Dill oil has at least 10 different aromatic compounds. The dill seed oil and dill weed oil have different chemical compositions, which vary according to geographical location, time of harvest, growth condition and isolation procedure.5
Dill seed oil's chemical constituents are limonene, α-pinene, γ-Terpinene, decanal, terpinene-4-ol, β-elemene, cis-Dihydrocarvone and caryophyllene, trans-hydrocarone, carvone and dillapiole. For dill weed oil, the principal constituents are carvone, limonene, α-phellandrene and 3,7-dimethyl-4,5,6,7-tetrahydro coumaran. Dill weed oil is milder than dill seed oil because it has less carvone and more α-phellandrene.
Benefits of Dill Oil
Dill oil is usually used for digestive problems such as constipation, loss of appetite and indigestion. Because of dill's carminative properties, it can help stop gas formation in the intestines. It also has a calming and soothing effect that helps reduce nervousness and relieves anxiety and depression. Other benefits of dill oil include:
• May help promote restful sleep, making it ideal for people who suffer from insomnia.
• Helps reduce inflammation in the mouth and throat.
• May help alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children by mixing it with chamomile tea.6
• May be used as a protection from head lice by rubbing it on the scalp.
• Works as a diuretic and helps treat urinary tract infection (UTI) by regulating urine excretion without any difficulty.
How to Make Dill Oil
The dill seed oil is extracted by steam distillation of dried seeds, while the dill weed oil comes from leaves and stem of the plant.
Harvesting is best done when the dill plant is 105 days old, right after the blooming period when seeds are immature. For seed oil, harvesting should take place in the morning when plants are damp with dew. The seeds should be fully mature to avoid shattering.7
How Does Dill Oil Work?
To achieve its therapeutic effect, mix three drops of dill oil, two drops of lavender oil and two drops of lemon balm oil in an aromatherapy lamp. The oil's relaxing effect creates a soothing feeling that assists in relieving panic, anxiety and stress. Its aroma, which is minty, sweet and spicy at the same time, promotes sleep and helps relieve cramps.8
Another relaxing combination of oils that I recommend is to mix three drops of dill oil and three drops of roman chamomile oil with five drops of lavender oil in an aromatherapy lamp. It gives a sense of calm and it also helps in concentration, making it an effective option for hyperactive children.
It is also ideal to use dill oil in the shower to get that refreshing and soothing feeling. By adding three drops of the oil in your bathwater, it can strengthen and stimulate your entire body. It is also an ingredient for gripe water, which is a remedy for colic. However, I advise you to consult your physician before ingesting any amount of this essential oil.
Is Dill Oil Safe?
Dill oil is considered safe as a food additive. However, skin rash may occur in people who are sensitive to it. To check if you have any with dill oil, I recommend having a skin patch test prior to using it. I also advise pregnant women to avoid using dill oil, although it may have some benefit for nursing mother because it helps the flow of breast milk. I recommend consulting a qualified health care practitioner before using dill oil.
Side Effects of Dill Oil
The most common side effect of dill oil is skin irritation, especially for people who are allergic to plants that belong to the carrot family.9