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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

Dill consists of the dried ripe fruits of Anethum graveolens Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.






Fructus anethi, Anethum, European dill.


Biological Source


Dill consists of the dried ripe fruits of Anethum graveolens Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.


Geographical Source


It is native of the Mediterranean region and Southern Russia. Also grown in Italy, Spain and Portugal.


Cultivation and Collection


Dill is a hardy annual crop which grows ordinarily from 2 to 2.5 feet high. The seeds are sown in early spring in drills 10 inches apart on soil with exhaustive fertility. The seeds are thinned out to leave 8 to 10 inches room each way, and the weeds are removed timely. The plant has more than one stalk and its long, spindle-shaped root, growth is upright, its stems smooth, shiny and hollow and in mid summer it bears flat terminal umbels with numerous yellow flowers. The mowing of the seeds starts as the lower seeds begin; with proper care taken not to loose any of the seeds due to shaking. The loose sheaves are built into stacks of about 20 sheaves, tied together. In hot weather, thrashing is done in the field, spreading the sheaves on a large canvas sheet and beating them. The seeds are finally dried by spreading out on trays in the sun or on moderate heat of a stove with occasional shaking.




Dill fruits are oval, compressed, winged with 4 mm in length, about one-tenth inch wide and 1 mm thick. The fruits are yellowish or slightly brown having with three longitudinal ridges on the back and three dark lines or oil cells (vittae) between them and two on the flat surface. The taste of the fruits somewhat resembles caraway (aromatic and characteristic). The seeds are small in size, flat and lighter than caraway and have a pleasant aromatic odour.


                   Anethum graveolens



Dill has six vittae, of which four are present on the outer surface and two on the commissural surface. Five vascular strands are present in each of the primary ridge. Thin-walled epicarp is present and the mesocarp has rounded parenchyma. The endosperm has thick-walled, elongated cells with parquetry arrangement. Testa is brown in colour and the endosperm has thick-wailed cellulosic parenchymatous cells with aleuron grains and oil globules.

                              T.S. (schematic) of Dill fruit

                Transverse section of Dill fruit (mericarp)

Chemical Constituents


The fruit yields about 3.5% of the essential oil, about 20% of fixed oil and protein. The essential oil is an aromatic liquid consisting of a mixture of paraffin hydrocarbon and 40 to 60% of d-carvone along with D-limonene and other terpenes.





Dill fruit and oil of Dill possess stimulant, aromatic, carminative, and stomachic, with considerable medicinal value. Oil of Dill is used in mixtures, preparation of Dill Water is used in the flatulence of infants and also as a vehicle for children’s medicine. Oil of Dill is employed for perfuming soaps.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Woodward’s Gripe water.


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