Home Herbal Monograph Indian Dill

The dill seed was much esteemed by Indians, who used it as a condiment and medicine. An infusion of it was given as a cordial drink to women after confinement. The leaves moistened with oil were used as a poultice for suppurative skin conditions. It was an excellent remedy, mostly given in the form of Dillwater, well known to every English mother and nurse. Mahometan writers described it as resolvent and deobstruent, carminative, diuretic and emmenagogue. It also found mention in Persian literature.


It grows throughout the tropical and sub-tropical parts in India. It is cultivated throughout India chiefly in Punjab, Uttar-Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Assam and West Bengal. It is sometimes found growing as a weed of cultivation and even as an escape in irrigated fields.

Morphology Description (Habit)

It is an annual, glabrous, aromatic herb, grows up to 1.2 m in height. The leaves are decompound and ultimate segments filiform. Flowers are pale yellow in compound umbels. Fruits are sub-elliptical, dorsally compressed, glabrous, with 3 longitudinal ridges, winged, with 2 mericarps. The mericarps remain joined together even under stored conditions. Vittae with marginal walls appear irregularly and have thickenings near the angles.

Principal Constituents

The major constituent of the oil from the mericarp is carvone (19.5-69.7%).


Carvone is reported to have carminative and antiseptic action1. Plant showed appetite-stimulating property2.


Dill-apiol, one of the constituents, was reported to be toxic.


The fruit is hot and bitter. It is carminative, stomachic, digestive, anti-flatulent and stimulant. It is used in digestive disorders.

  1. Harborne, B.J., 1999, Phytochemical Dictionary, Taylor and Francis, London.
  2. K'o Hsueh Nung Yeh, Chem. Abstr., 1980, 93, 210148 a.