Dill originates from Central Asia and the plant grows wild in the Middle East. It was known in ancient Egypt, and from here it spread to Greece, Rome and the rest of Europe. Today dill is first of all used in northern, middle and eastern Europe while it used to a minimum in the Mediterranean.
Dill grows up to 40–60 cm with slender hollow stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels. Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called "dill weed" to distinguish it from dill seed) are widely used as herbs in Europe and Central Asia.
Dill seeds, having a flavor similar to caraway but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed, is used as a spice. Dill oil is extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant. The oil from the seeds is distilled and used in the manufacturing of soaps.
In central and eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Baltic states, Russia and Finland dill is a popular culinary herb, used in the kitchen along with chives or parsley. Fresh, finely cut dill leaves are used as topping in soups, especially the hot red borscht and the cold borsht mixed with curds, kefir, yoghurt, or sour cream, which is served during hot summer weather and is called okroshka. It is also popular in summer to drink fermented milk (curds, kefir, yoghurt, or buttermilk) mixed with dill (and sometimes other herbs).In Scandinavia dill is a common spice/kitchen herb.
In the same way, prepared dill is used as a topping for boiled potatoes covered with fresh butter – especially in summer when there are so-called "new", or young, potatoes. The dill leaves can be mixed with butter, making a dill butter, which can serve the same purpose.
The etheric oil is used in the perfume industry and in some liqueors.
The dill seeds were written in the pharmacopoeia in 1772.
Medicine for livestock:
Dill was used as a prevention against rinderpest. Calves with tympania were given dill-tea. Dill was also used in diseases of the horse.
A young girl should wear dill, when walking in the woods. At her wedding the bride should have dill seeds in her shoes, and the groom should have dill seeds in his pocket. This would make a happy wedding. Valborg-evening 30/4 or Midsummernight 24/6 the cattle was given dill with garlic as a protection against witchcraft. If the dill plant was placed upon the brewing tub the beer was not bewitched. On Christmas night dill and honey were given the cows as a protection against witchcraft.
In Anglo Saxon England, as prescribed in Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England (also called Læceboc, many of whose recipes were borrowed from Greek medicinal texts), dill was used in many traditional medicines, including those against jaundice, headache, boils, lack of appetite, stomach problems, nausea, liver problems, and many other ills. Dill seeds can also be used to prepare herbal tea. In ancient Greece fragrance was made from the leaves of dill. Also, athletes used to spread essence of dill all over their body, as muscle toner.
In 1967 were at the market of Copenhagen sold 1.125.375 bundles of dill.
images from wikipedia
Source: Klosterurter, Krydderurter i haven, Køkkenurter, Brøndegaard: Folk og flora.