Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. Oregano is a perennial herb. It derives its name from Ancient Greece meaning “Joy of The Mountain”, but is best known as a “pizza herb”.
Oregano contains vitamin A, C, E, K and minerals such as iron and manganese. It also shows antimicrobial and antifungal properties with its high numbers of phytonutrients (thymol and carvacrol), which fight infections. It’s loaded with antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and is an excellent source of fiber, tryptophan, and calcium.
There are over 40 species and varieties of Oregano in the wild. North America Spice Oreganol P73 is handpicked in pristine, and unpolluted remote mountains (pictured left). It claims to be the only, truly unprocessed, full-spectrum wild oregano oil available with carvacrol levels that vary from 65% to 84%. They state that their blended oregano species creates a synergistic balance of over 30 phytochemicals with low thymol content, which is a sign of quality and a higher safety profile. However, the difference between super strength and regular strength is that the ratio of olive oil to oregano oil is considerably different.
Oregon has a multitude of benefits.
- Due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial characteristics, it can alleviate such issues like sinus headaches and infections, ear aches, urinary tract infections/disorders, gastrointestinal issues (bloating and heartburn), gum disease, and tooth aches. One study reports that Oregano can prevent the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, often causing food poisoning. And another study indicates the inhibition of H. pylori, which is linked to peptic ulcers.
- Since it is rich in antioxidants, the herb is anti-inflammatory and may assist in pain management for muscles as well as for rheumatoid arthritis as it fights free radicals in the body. This also means it has anticancer properties.
- Plus, it has antispasmodic properties which decrease pelvic floor cramping; decreasing the pain from menstrual cramps.
- Oregano is anti-parasitic and helps to fight intestinal infections like Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana.
- Another great property is its antiviral effects, which assists the immune system to fight against viruses to lead to colds and flu, respiratory illnesses (bronchitis, coup), and asthma.
- Oregano’s antifungal aspects can alleviate skin conditions like athletes foot, acne, oil skin, varicose veins, dandruff, warts, ringworm, rosacea, psoriasis, and even insect bites (and is used as a repellent).
- The plant has high amounts of thymol, which can improve fatigue, anxiety, and sleeping problems as it has been shown to therapeutically calm the nerves. This can also promote antidepressant effects.
- Oregano may be antidiabetic as it has the potential to regulate blood sugar with the active ingredient of carvacrol and protect liver enzymes.
- And lastly, oregano may be able to lower cholesterol as it balances lipids in the body. Clinical research shows that taking oregano after each meal for 3 months can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
Dried leaves of oregano have pungent, slightly bitter taste. Oregano is used in various cuisines worldwide as well as teas, tinctures, and essential oils.
Oreganol can be taken by mouth for 200 mg of oil of oregano three times daily for 6 weeks. Oregano oil is a powerful substance, so it’s best to start with the smallest possible dose to see how your body reacts.
Mild side effects include stomach upsets and diuretics due to its detoxification effect. Oregano might also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to plants in the Lamiaceae family including basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, and sage.
People with diabetes should use oregano cautiously. Taking oregano might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium, which could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Studies have shown that oregano essential oil (OEO) and silver nanoparticles have potent antibacterial activity, also against multidrug-resistant strains.
Research results also indicate that the synergistic contribution of oregano and cranberry phenolics may be more important for inhibition than any species-specific phenolic concentration
Ancient Greeks believed that cows grazing in fields full of oregano had tastier meat. They also believed that if you anoint yourself with oregano you will dream about your future spouse as the herb was thought to be created by Aphrodite, the Goddess of love.
It became popular in America after soldiers returned from Service in World War Two in the Mediterranean and were craving pizza, which is the reason it is often called the pizza herb.
Oregano lives for more than 2 years in the wild. When in bloom they have beautiful purple or pink flowers that are also edible.
Oregano grows in the well-drained soils in areas that provide enough direct sunlight and moisture. This plant is also known as wild marjoram because it is closely related to the sweet marjoram (another popular spice). It is also used in gardening because it improves growth of surrounding plants. The amount of aromatic oils and chemical composition of the plant depend on the habitat, climate and type of soil.
Sen, Dr. D.J. Oregano: the mountain of joy on taste buds. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences ISSN (Print): 2321-3310; ISSN: 2321-3086 Published by Atom and Cell Publishers.