The story of dill essential oil, told by a Naturopath

Born somewhere between Istanbul and Odessa, dill is mentioned in an Egyptian medical treatise more than 5,000 years ago. For a long time sedentary, it was not subject to radiation across Europe at the start of our era. Even though the Romans loved its aniseed scent and made it a symbol of vitality, this disheveled lace took some time to conquer the Nordic countries. They jealously preserve this aromatic herb that we find as well in the pittance of gladiators as in the most elaborate recipes of Apicius , second of the name, who preferred to end his life when his finances no longer allowed him to buy. without limit the multitude of spices which found favor in his eyes.

A little history

Probably from the Near East, dill spread as much to the Caucasus as to Egypt at first. The ancient Egyptians even inscribed it in the famous Ebers papyrus (1500 BC). Later, the magical Leyden papyrus , written in Greek, mentions dill under the nickname “seed of Hermes” . More broadly, beyond a single consideration of a purely magical order, dill is related by Hippocrates , Dioscorides and Galen , which is certainly proof that dill set foot on European soil long before the beginning of our era.

The ancient Greeks composed a remedy based on dill, fennel and verbena root to combat female sterility. As for the Romans, Pliny and Virgil refer to it at the very beginning of the Christian era, one in his Natural History , the other in his Bucolics .

In the Middle Ages, it was not less than the school of Salerno and Hildegard who used it as a remedy. The famous Italian medical school will even crack some good words about it: “dill drives away the winds, lessens moods and a full belly dispels lumps”. As for the Abbess of Bingen , she recommends dill in the event of nosebleeds, pectoral diseases, pain in the spleen and gout.

Matthiole indicates that dill was cultivated in all the gardens of his time and that it counted among the constituent ingredients of theriacs , while its seeds formed with chamomile, sweet clover and chamomile the club of the four carminative plants of the apothecaries of the time .

What are the pharmacological properties of the essential oil of fructified aerial parts of Dill?

Antispasmodic properties:

The antispasmodic effect of dill essential oil is demonstrated with carvone on smooth muscles with respect to acetylcholine and histamine; the α-phellandrene reduced the contractions of the intestine through interaction on receptors 5 hydroxytryptamine 3. Stimulating and digestive antispasmodic , it increases the basal tone and contractions of the smooth intestinal muscles, carminative.

This plant is also antitoxic, urinary tract antispasmodic diuretic and renal antispasmodic.

Detoxifying and hepato-protective properties:

Detoxifying and hepatoprotective, the detoxifying action of carvone on the liver is linked to the stimulation of cytochromes P-450 or phase II enzymes such as gluthation-S-transferase. The limonene and carvone present in the essential oil Dill stimulates bile secretion, showing a choleretic effect and bile duct.

Fluidifying in hepatobiliary and pancreatic insufficiencies, Dill actually increases the secretion of gastric juices.

Hypocholesterolemic properties:

The carvone also lowers the rate of cholesterol and hepatic triglyceride accumulation.

Digestive properties:

Carminative, cholagogue and choleretic thanks to ketones which lift stasis and restore movement in general, Dill is therefore useful in case of bloating, meteorism or even colopathies. The limonene and carvone stimulate bile secretion.

Digestive, carvone reduces nausea by acting on gastric motility and gastric acidity during gastroesophageal reflux. The limonene, in turn, stimulates intestinal microcirculation .

Other properties:

Bronchial fluidifying, mucolytic and antifungal, the latter action is linked to α-phellandrene and limonene. Dill is also cortison-like, it stimulates the pituitary-adrenal cortex and is in fact interesting in inflammatory conditions.

It is also given antimicrobial, antidepressant, lipid-lowering activities by activation of the peroxisome of PPAR-α (proliferator-activated receptor-α), or even tonic and general stimulant, thanks to the monoterpenes which become positive, because they ionize positively and very easily.

There is also an inhibition of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase.

Does dill essential oil require precautions for use?

  • Dermocaustic essential oil, do not use pure on the skin
  • Reserved for adults
  • May cause severe irritation to the eyes by the odorant route.
  • Cutaneous use only recommended
  • Do not diffuse, inhale, or put in the bath water
  • Contraindicated during pregnancy (abortion) or breastfeeding
  • Caution in people with autoimmune diseases, epilepsy , the elderly or Parkinson’s , as well as people with neurosensitivity
  • Contraindicated in the event of a history of seizures and / or epilepsy
  • Inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP 2B1 and CYP 2C), ask your pharmacist for advice
  • The limonene is metabolized in humans by CYP2C9 and CYP2C19
  • Avoid any association with cortisone , risk of drug interactions

Medical bibliographic sources and clinical trials :

  • Hajhashemi V, Abbasi N. Hypolipidemic activity of Anethum graveolens in rats. Phytother Res. 2008
  • Takahashi N, Yao L, Kim M, Sasako H, Aoyagi M, Shono J, Tsuge N, Goto T, Kawada T. Dill seed extract improves abnormalities in lipid metabolism through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α) activation in diabetic obese mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013
  • Yasdanparast R, Alavi M. Antihyperlipidaemic and anti-hypercholesterolaemic effects of Anethum graveolens leaves after the removal of furocoumarins. Cytobios. 2001
  • Kazemi M. Phenolic profile, antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory activity of Anethum graveolens L. essential oil. Nat Prod Res. 2014
  • Orhan I, Kartal M, Kan Y, Sener B. Activity of essential oils and individual components against acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase. Z Naturforsch C. 2008
  • CM Farmaciola, Dill essential oil, 2020
  • Franchomme P., Jollois R., Penoël D., Aromatherapy exactly, ed. Roger Jollois, 2001
  • Fleurentin J., From the good use of aromatherapy, ed. West-France, 2018


Clementine. M.
Naturopath – Aromatherapist / Herbalist – Phytotherapist
Consultant in Clinical Phyto-aromatherapy and Ethnomedicine

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