Possible medicinal uses of oregano include treating respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.
Applied topically, it may help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and dandruff.
Oregano oil contains an essential compound called carvacrol, which has antimicrobial properties.
The herb has shown antimicrobial activity in a number of studies. One group of researchers foundthat Origanum vulgare essential oils were effective against 41 strains of the food pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
Another team from India and the United Kingdom (U.K.) reported that the essential oil of Himalayan oregano has strong antibacterial properties that may protect against the hospital superbug, MRSA.
“We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000. The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapor and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water.”
Prof. Vyv Salisbury, the University of the West of England, Bristol
The project won an award from the United Nations in 2008.
Scientists from Germany and Switzerland identified an active ingredient in oregano, known as beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), which may help treat disorders such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. E-BCP is a dietary cannabinoid.
Protecting against cancer
Research published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2013 suggested that oregano exhibits anticancer activity. The scientists concluded that Origanum could help prevent and treat breast cancer by slowing or preventing its progression.
In 2014, food scientists discovered that the popular culinary herbs oregano, rosemary, and marjoram contain compounds that may have the potential to manage type 2 diabetes in a similar way to some currently prescribed drugs.
Other possible health benefits
According to The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, oregano can be used for the following illnesses and conditions:
- cold sores
- muscle pain
- heart conditions
- intestinal parasites
- sore throat
- repelling insects
- menstrual cramps
Oregano essential oil, made from Origanum vulgare may help with the following problems:
- Foot or nail fungus: Put a few drops in water and soak the feet in it, or apply diluted oil topically to the affected area.
- Sinus infections and colds: Use a few drops in a steam bath and inhale.
Any essential oil should be diluted before use, either with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, or in water, as for a steam bath.
More research is needed to confirm oregano’s effectiveness as a treatment.
Oregano is a Mediterranean herb that goes well with pizzas and pasta sauces.
Other ideas include:
- sprinkling meat or chicken with oregano for flavor
- using it in marinades or stuffings
- chopping and mixing it in bread dough to make herby rolls
- adding it fresh to salad
Here are some more tips:
- Add it toward the end of the cooking process for maximum flavor
- The smaller you chop or grind it, the more flavor will be released
- Start with a small amount, as too much can make the food bitter
- One teaspoon of dried oregano is equivalent to one tablespoon of fresh oregano
It is available dried or fresh in grocery stores, or you can grow it in a pot on a windowsill or balcony or in the garden. It is a perennial, which means it can grow all year.
Side effects and precautions
Eating oregano can cause stomach upsets in some people.
In addition, those who are allergic to plants belonging to the Lamiaceae family, which include oregano, basil, lavender, mint, and sage, should be cautious, as they may also develop an allergic reaction to oregano.
– The information in our articles are NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice.
– Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. AROMAVITA does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.