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Post by Sonshine on Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:27 am

It is such a familiarity in our gardens, dill’s identity as an herb is also well established. The name comes from an old Norse word “dilla’ which means ‘to lull’. Even back then, dill water was used to soothe colicky babies.

Although a native of southern Mediterranean shores and southern Russia, dill (Anethum graveolens) has been naturalized for centuries in many other countries. The earliest record of it appears on an Egyptian papyrus from 5,000 years ago. Romans wore crowns made from flowering branches of dill for their festivals; garlands crowned war heroes on their return home. In the first century A.D., Pliny listed nine remedies with dill as the chief ingredient. This herb is among those mentioned in Matthew 23:23 as being tithed. In 1578, Dodoens mentions dill being sown in all gardens among worts and pot-herbs.

As a drug, dill has been used by herbalists to dispel flatulence, increase mother’s milk and treat congestion in the breasts resulting from nursing. Dill possesses stimulant, aromatic, carminative and stomachic properties, making it of considerable medicinal value. In the Middle Ages, dill was one of the herbs used by magicians in their spells and charms against witchcraft.

“Trefoil, vervain, John’s wort, dill

hinder witches of their will.”

Mentioned by herbalists down through the centuries, the reputes of dill are well recognized. Virgil called it - “pleasant and fragrant plant, very easy to grow.” Piesse reported some ladies mixed dill water and rose water together as a simple cosmetic to clear the complexion. Culpepper said dill would strengthen the brain; Edmund Spencer called it “head purging dill.”

In 1629, Parkinson stated dill added to cucumbers -“doth very well agree, giving to the cold fruit a prettie spicie taste or relish.” Because of its soothing effect, dill was one of the ‘meeting-house seeds.’ Long sermons were made tolerable with a pocketful of seeds, dill among them to nibble on. An old German custom was for brides to carry dill although the significance of the practice has been lost through the ages.

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He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]

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