Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, belongs to the mint family of plants and has a close relation to marjoram. It is a perennial herb that has been shown to possess antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. As with many natural supplements, clinical trials proving effectiveness are not available, but there is strong research to support an array of health benefits from the oil of oregano. These include antiviral properties, as well as the ability to fight off infections, restore digestive health, and improve joint and muscle flexibility.
Oregano oil is extracted from oregano plants and contains carvacrol and thymol, both substances with potent antiviral properties. There are nearly 200 products listed in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database containing oil of oregano. It is used for a wide variety of purposes as a natural remedy, as well as for its overall health benefits.
The herb is processed by a unique type of distillation which has been performed for thousands of years. The result is a pale brownish-yellow or amber looking oil which has a powerful and a spicy, sweet aroma with a powerful hot flavor. Oregano adds a warm spiciness to food, and the oil from oregano can be used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It takes up to 200 pounds of the herb to produce 2 pounds of oil. It is a powerful antioxidant, anti-venom cure, anesthetic, mucolytic-reducing mucus and fungi, and antispasmodic which suppresses muscle spasms. It is nature’s most powerful and effective versatile antiseptic.
Millions of people around the world use oregano oil for its many and varied health benefits. The oil is made from the tiny leaves of the flowering oregano plant, picked when they are the highest in their concentration of essential oil. The active ingredient in oregano oil is carvacrol, and the best oregano oils are guaranteed to contain anywhere from 75 to 85 percent carvacrol.
There are many oregano oil health benefits, and here are just a few:
1 – Its antioxidant properties can also contribute to aid the digestive system
2 – Helps ease allergies and sinusitis
3 – Possesses strong antiseptic and strong anti-inflammatory properties
4 – Used to fight fungal infections in the skin and blood
5 – Rub it on the skin to treat fungal ailments such as athlete’s foot and defends against infectious organisms, including yeast, bacteria, fungi, and parasites
6 – Used externally, it can be used to soothe bee stings and other insect bites
7 – Packed with minerals, e.g., magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc
8- Gives antioxidant protection that can help in protection against aging agents.
9- Aids in relieving respiratory and sinus conditions, and seasonal allergies.
10- Oregano oil also protects the body against excess body fat. The essential active ingredient, known as carvacrol works to lessen white tissue irritation and modulate genes
Oregano is sought as a natural remedy for respiratory conditions and coughs caused by asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It may also be used for warding off urinary tract infections and intestinal parasites. Additionally, oregano oil can be used topically for acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, bug bites, canker sores, and warts. Oregano is also shown to be effective at treating and preventing sinus infections. This is largely because of the natural antiviral properties of oil of oregano.
As a nutritional supplement, oil of oregano can be useful for boosting the immune system and fighting off infection as well as chronic inflammation, such as arthritis. Because oil of oregano is available as both oil and a capsule, the uses, and benefits of oregano are two-fold. When ingested, it can provide the health benefits already mentioned, as well as aid indigestion. It can also relieve an upset stomach and ward off congestion and sore throat caused by the common cold. When used topically, oil of oregano can relieve some skin conditions.
Used orally or topically, oregano is natural and safe to apply to the skin, gums, and teeth, as well as to ingest. As a topical treatment, oil of oregano may need to be diluted with oil before application so be sure to check the product label. Oil of oregano can also be added to shampoos or mouthwash. Topical application benefits include treatment of dandruff, itching, ringworm, athlete’s foot, acne, and varicose veins.
As well it is a useful spice for cooking. The spice is typically derived from a different species of oregano than the oil and shouldn’t be confused with oil of oregano or oregano supplements. Primarily, as a spice, oregano is prized for its aromatic properties and commonly used to season Greek and Italian foods. It is often used in conjunction with garlic, basil, and thyme.
Lastly, Oregano oil can be taken as a dietary supplement. As a supplement, it can be taken in capsule form or ingested as emulsified oil which can be added by the drop to milk, juice, or tea. Adding just two to three drops of oregano oil to juice or milk can help cure an upset stomach and aid in digestive health. While oregano is a natural substance, there is always a potential for side effects or interactions with any substance. Little has been discovered about side effects of oregano, except that it may interfere with the absorption of iron and may lower blood sugar. However, aside from potential allergies to oregano, historical use has demonstrated that oregano is well tolerated in recommended doses.