Dill Essential Oil Health Benefits & Side Effects

Overview of Dill Essential Oil

Dill essential oil or Dill oil is obtained by steam distillation from the seeds, leaves, and stems of the dill plant. Dill oil benefits are mainly lowering cholesterol and rich in antioxidants. The seeds of Dill produce the highest percentage that is 3-5%. Dill oil is obtained from two different varieties of European dill (Anethum graveolens L.) and Indian dill (Anethum sowa L.), belonging to Apiaceae family.

Uses of Dill essential oil

It is widely used in the food industry because of its characteristic aroma and flavor. It is also used as a perfumery to aromatize detergents, soaps and as a substitute for caraway oil. Dill oil benefits are because of its pharmacological importance like treatment of stomach illnesses, relieves gas, helping to settle colic antibacterial, antifungal activities, relieving of pain, anticonvulsant, and anti-vomiting.

Common name

Shatapushpa (Anethum sowa Kurz.) Ayurveda, dereotu (local name), Shapat

Geographical distribution

Dill is a native of Europe, the Mediterranean region, Nepal, Peru, Spain, Turkey, Venezuela. It is mainly cultivated in Pakistan, India, Sudan, U. S. A., Bahamas, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Iraq, and West Indies (1).

Constituents of Dill essential oil

Dill oil is volatile, light yellow in color with a spice or fruit-like odor. It is an acrid taste due to carvone (23.1%) with limonene (45%) and paraffin hydrocarbon. The typical flavor of dill herb oil is due to α-phellandrene, limonene, and dill ether (anethofuran) (2).

Constituents Percentage
Apiol 81.99 %
α-Phellandrene 19.12 %
limonene 26.34 %
dill ether 15.23%
sabinene 11.34%
α-pinene 2%
n-tetracosane 1.54%
neophytadiene 1.43%
n-docosane 1.04 %
n-tricosane 1 %
n-nonadecane 1 %
n-eicosane 0.78%
n-heneicosane 0.67 %
β-myrcene 0.23%
α-tujene 0.21%

Benefits of Dill essential oil

1. Antimicrobial properties

Dill essential oil contains antimicrobial compounds like monoterpenes, carvone, and limonene. Which is therefore effective against various bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enteritidis, and Salmonella typhi. 

This oil also inhibits the growth of fungi like Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus,  Sacharomyces cerevaceae, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Zymoseptoria tritici, Fusarium proliferatum and Fusarium verticillioides (3, 4).

2. Presence of antioxidants

Apiol, limonene (45%) and sabinene (32%), carvone, and its derivatives found in dill essential oil acts as natural antioxidants. Therefore are potent scavengers of free radicals and useful for the treatment of premature aging and cancer therapy by preventing oxidative damage through lipid peroxidation (5).

3. Anti-Inflammatory properties

Carvone and limonene present in dill essential oil exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects thus this oil is beneficial to treat inflammation and pain (6)

4. Anticancer Properties

The presence of Anethofuran, carvone, and limonene in dill essential oil shows chemopreventive effects against tumor cells thus prevents cancer cell growth (7).

5. Wound healing properties

The oil contains α-phellandrene, p-cymene, and carvone. Therefore, the application of an ointment containing dill essential oil prevents bacterial growth, reduces inflammation and infected wound area by improving re-epithelialization, angiogenesis, fibroblast, and collagen deposition (8).

6. Mosquito repellents

Dill essential oil (1.2%) can be used to prevent or reduce the growth of mosquito larvae. As it contains p-Cymenealpha (20.81%), alpha-Phellandrene (20.75%), Carvone (10.97%), Dill ether (9.88%), and cis-Sabinol (3.61%) having good larvicidal activity against Anopheles stephensi and reduce the growth (90%) of larvae (9).

7. Dill essential oil helps to treat vaginal candidiasis

Carvone and limonene found in dill essential oil (2% v/v) active against several strains of candida including Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis, Candida krusei, and Candida tropicalis by damaging the plasma membrane of yeast.

Therefore, this oil show anti-candida effects and is a promising alternative for the treatment of Candida vaginal infection (monilial vaginitis) (10, 11).

8. Insecticidal properties of Dill essential oil

Dill essential oil contains a good amount of carvone and limonene which show insecticide effect against pests like Tribolium castaneum (wheat flour insect pest), Sitotroga cerealella, Sitophilus oryzae, Sitophilus zeamais, and Tyrophagus putrescentiae (stored-grain insects and mites) (12,13)

9. Lowers the cholesterol levels

Daily intake of dill essential oil for 2 weeks show a wonderful effect on reduction in total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) known as bad cholesterol, and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) also called good cholesterol because this oil contains alpha-phellandrene (32%), limonene (28%) and carvone (28%) which lower the triacylglyceride levels by almost 42% and is a promising cardioprotective agent (14).

10. Treat the liver injury

Oral administration of dill tablet (100 and 300 mg/kg) show hepatoprotective activities and prevent liver cell damage induced by CCl4 toxicity (15).

Interesting note

Dill essential oil is also useful to increase the shelf life of beef due to its antioxidant properties (16).

Side effects of Dill essential oil

1. Maybe allergic to some people

Dill essential oil has no or fewer side effects. It may rarely lead to allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, oral pruritus, urticaria tongue, and throat swelling. 

2. Lactating and pregnant women should avoid

Although there are no studies done on the long-term effects of dill essential oil on a person’s health. But during Lactation and pregnancy, it will be good to avoid this oil because of no one (17).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati

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