Oregano (origanum vulgare) is most commoning known as an herb that adds savory flavor to dishes when cooking. Some know it as an essential oil.
Essential oils are very concentrated and are different from the oil of oregano. The essential oil is considered a hot oil and should be diluted with a carrier oil to be applied topically or can be used in a diffuser with caution with kids and pets. This article is about the oil of oregano.
The oil of oregano can be taken as the oil internally or put in a capsule to swallow. It can be applied topically because it is already diluted.
Oregano is high in antioxidants, a molecule that neutralizes free radicals. The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health developed a unit of measurement for antioxidant content called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) showing Oregano's score at 175,295.
Multiple antioxidants contribute to the health benefits, including carvacrol, thymol, caryophyllene, limonene, ocimene, and terpinene. Carvacrol and thymol are two main components that have antioxidant and antibacterial activities with preventative and therapeutic properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804097/
A variety of antioxidant properties and chemicals have been identified. Two main components are thymol and carvacrol.
Thymol is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal that stimulates the immune system. It fights bacteria (such as E-Coli, Staphylococcus aureus), fungi (including candida), parasites (like intestinal worms) and is an excellent expectorant and natural diuretic. It has been found to be effective in treating upper respiratory infections and also in managing renal and urinary tract infections.
Carvacrol has been shown to be effective against a wide range of infections including those caused by the following bacteria, parasites, and fungi: Candida Albicans, E-Coli, Giardia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, and Listeria.
Carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol help slow bacterial growth and kill fungus.
Oregano has antibacterial effects against bacterial strains. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19783523/
A 2019 laboratory study on the combination of carvacrol and thymol, antimicrobial activity against staphylococcus aureus and antioxidant activity.
One teaspoon of dried oregano contains calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K, among other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Where it came from
Oregano was originally grown in Greece. The word "oregano" is from the Greek words oros, for "mountains" and ganos for "joy" meaning "joy of the mountain". It tasted delicious and was easy to grow so the herb quickly spread across Europe and Asia. It traveled to China and came to the United States after World War II by soldiers coming home.
Oregano has been used for thousands of years.
In ancient Mediterranean culture, oregano was used internally to treat digestive and respiratory problems, colds, sore throat, influenza, mild feverish illnesses, cramps and menstruation, indigestion, and stomach upsets.
Externally it can be used as a chest rub to treat bronchitis or asthma. It can be rubbed (diluted) on the skin for arthritis and muscular pain. A drop on a tooth could relieve toothache pain. On the scalp, it could be used to treat lice.
Heartburn or indigestion
Help to lower cholesterol
Aids with yeast infections
Improves gut health
Regulate blood sugar and lipids
Clears mucus of the lungs
Protects against cancer
Relieve inflammatory conditions
Muscle or joint pain
Urinary tract infection - use 3-4 drops with a glass of milk or milk substitute, three times a day for three days.
Use as an antibiotic. Carvacrol was found to be a more effective antimicrobial over pharmaceutical drugs like penicillin. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/130620#1
Use caution if you have an allergy to plants in the Lamiaceae family, including basil, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, or thyme.
If you are awaiting surgery, stop taking the oil two weeks before your procedure. Oil of oregano may reduce the ability of blood platelets to clump together.
It may increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking anticoagulant drugs.
Large amounts may cause stomach upset.
If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar. It might lower blood sugar. Be mindful of taking this with other supplements which lower blood sugar like aloe, chromium, cassia cinnamon, bitter melon, or prickly pear cactus.
The oil may interact with other natural products that also affect blood clotting, such as garlic, ginger, ginko, certain ginseng, or red clover.
Oil of oregano is considered generally safe to consume. Essential oil is not. Consult your doctor or pharmacist with any questions or interactions.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Links and Studies
Most studies have used the essential form of oregano, which is much more concentrated. The studies do show the benefits of the compounds present in the plant.
The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oils against Streptococcus mutans in vitro and analysis of active components shows that oregano essential oil might be a potential antibacterial agent for the prevention of dental caries.
https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0098 Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oils obtained from oregano (origanum vulgare ... ) by using different extraction methods
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32461309/ Oregano oil and it's principal component, Carvacrol, inhibit HIV-1 fusion into target cells.