oregano oil and leaves

Oregano is an amazing herb. Not only does it make your favorite pizza taste like authentic Italy, but it also has many uses. The Romans, Turks, and Greeks have been using oregano for thousands of years as an ingredient and medicine. The Greek's affinity to the herb is clear in its name - "oregano" came from the Greek words "oros" (mountain), and "ganos" (brightness), thus "brightness of the mountain."

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a perennial herb and flowering plant from the Lamiaceae family, which makes it a cousin of the mint. It is native to the Mediterranean region and Southwestern Eurasia. The leaves are green while the flowers are purple, and the green foliage can be used fresh or processed into oregano oil. Some call oregano "wild marjoram" after its relative, the marjoram herb.

What Is Oregano Oil?

Oregano oil is the plant's essential oil which contains over 60 different chemical compounds. About 80% of these components are carvacrol and thymol (which gives the herb its distinct aroma). Other compounds include cymene, pinene, caryophyllene, borneol, linalool, bisabolene, linalyl acetate, geranyl acetate, and terpinene. Pure oregano oil is made by processing the leaves and stems through a distillation process, but you can produce a homemade oregano oil using a base oil like virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil.


oregano oil

To Extract Oil From Oregano, Follow These Steps

  • Chop or crush the oregano leaves and stems.
  • Heat water in a saucepan until it boils.
  • Place the leaves in a jar and slowly pour the base oil onto the leaves.
  • Put the jar into the hot water and let it sit for 5-10 mins to allow the leaves to release its oils.
  • Shake the jar every few days.
  • After two weeks, strain the oil.
  • Transfer the oil into a dry and sanitized jar or bottle.
  • Store in a dark and cool place.

 What Is It Used For?

Oregano oil has a lot of uses. You can use it in aromatherapy as it easily releases through diffusion. You can also apply it topically as skin care or insect repellant. Some people use it as a food additive to enhance the flavor while others ingest small amounts of this oil as a dietary supplement.

Oregano oil is primarily for its medicinal properties, such as:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Antifungal
  • Antiparasitic
  • Anti-allergenic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Digestive

The ancient Greeks used oregano for treating and cleaning wounds. The herb was also used for treating stomach aches and cramps.


10 Amazing Benefits 

oregano leaves

You may call oregano oil a wonder product because of its many amazing benefits.

1. Anti-Aging

oregano oil - Anti-Aging

Oregano contains several powerful antioxidants that help prevent aging. Antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid and naringin help boost the immune system (which helps to heal and protect the body). The antioxidants also neutralize the free radicals that harm the body while repairing the damage done. This slows down the symptoms related to aging such as loss of vision and hearing, muscle degeneration, wrinkles, and nervous disorders.

Oregano essential oil also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, which help keep the skin young. Minerals found in oregano oil include magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, folate, and dietary fibers.


2. Antibacterial

oregano oil - anti bacterial

Studies have found out that the carvacrol and thymol compounds in oregano oil have antibacterial properties. Scientists have discovered that these can inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and more. Thus, oregano oil can be a good additive to disinfectants and soaps.

Other studies have also found out that components in oregano oil may kill the pathogen Listeria cytogenes and the antibiotic-resistant MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).


3. Antiviral

Antiviral oregano leaves

Carvacrol also has antiviral properties that can help fight against viral diseases such as measles, chicken pox, mumps, measles, and the common colds.

One study has found out that a certain breed of oregano, the Mexican oregano, displayed excellent antiviral activity. The carvacrol in the oregano was effective in fighting against herpes simplex virus and human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV).


4. Antifungal

oregano oil - Antifungal

Yeasts and fungi may be microscopic, but they are one of the biggest causes of infections. Fungi can cause skin diseases such as ringworms and athlete's foot. Candidiasis is an infection caused by the type of yeast called Candida albicans; it affects several body parts such as the armpits, mouth, groin, diaper areas in babies, and the vagina (Vaginal candidiasis).

Oregano oil contains thymol; a powerful compound found to exhibit antifungal properties. This is why oregano oil can be applied to infected areas like a topical ointment.


5. Antiparasitic

Antiparasitic

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi are not the only biological threats to our body. Macroscopic organisms known as parasites are dangerous, too.

External parasites such as lice and scabies mites live on the skin and hair and cause irritations and infections. Tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms infest the gastrointestinal organs and cause diarrhea, nausea, and malnutrition. Parasites also carry disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Oregano oil has excellent antiparasitic properties that kill these unwanted invaders. A study in 2000 showed that oregano oil was a factor in eliminating parasitic organisms.


6. Anti-Allergenic

Anti-Allergenic

Contrary to misconceptions, an allergy is not a disease. It is the body's natural response to foreign objects known as allergens that enter the bodies. The immune system releases antibodies to combat allergens, and this is what's known as an allergic reaction. Other allergic reactions include swelling, sneezing, itching, and anaphylaxis. The most common allergens are pollen, dust, insect bites, and food compounds.

The oil of oregano is a natural anti-allergenic. It contains rosmarinic acid, a powerful antihistamine that soothes inflammations and fever. It also stops sneezing, itching and congestion. It is also a natural sedative, so it calms down the immune system's hypersensitivity and gives relief to the body.

How To Use Oregano Oil To Treat Allergies

1. Add a few drops of oregano oil into a bowl of boiling water then inhale the steam.
2. As an alternative, you can put the oil in a diffuser, let the vapors waft in the air, then inhale.


7. Anti-Inflammatory

Anti-Inflammatory oregano leaves

An inflammation is the body's response to harmful threats to the body. Inflammation is in actuality a form of allergic reaction. When a part of the body is inflamed, it means that white blood cells are in action to combat foreign organisms such as bacteria or virus. Symptoms include swelling, redness, pain, and stiffness of the affected part.

German scientists have discovered that beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), a compound in this oil, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. Oregano oil is thought to help relieve rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. To ease inflammation, directly apply the oil of oregano onto the swollen joint or muscle (like an ointment), or ingested like medicine.


8. Digestive

oregano leaves

Oregano helps promote a healthy digestive system. Carvacrol in oregano kills harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines, thus promoting the growth of "good bacteria" that aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Carvacrol also kills food-borne bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

This oil also helps ease digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating and acidity. If you have a stomachache, your stomach lining might be swollen, so the anti-inflammatory properties of this oil work wonders, too. Add 1-2 drops of oregano oil to a cup of herbal tea to help aid in digestion or cure an upset stomach.


9. Anti-Cancer

oregano leaves

We still have a long way to go to find the cure for cancer, but small victories happen here and there - progress is being made to at least restrain the growth of cancer cells.

The naringin compound in oregano has been found out to exhibit this cell restraining property. As an indirect effect, the antioxidants in this oil helps protect the body from free radicals while repairing the damage done, thus protecting the body against muscle degeneration and some form of cancer growth.


10. Weight Loss

slim woman holding her waist and pants

The oil of oregano is thought to aid in weight loss. This is good news as it can help prevent obesity and help those who struggle to shed weight.

One study has found out that the carvacrol compound helped reduce obesity in mice. The mice treated with carvacrol were less prone to fat buildup though scientists fed them with fat-rich foods. It is hypothesized that carvacrol could inhibit the formation of fats in white adipose tissues, as carvacrol itself is one of many types of terpenes, substances capable of dissolving fats.

Conclusion

Oregano oil is an all-natural, all-organic product that has several amazing health benefits. It is safe with no harmful side effects. It is also easy to make, so it makes sense to have one bottle in your cabinet. Although there have been studies supporting the medicinal properties of oregano, there has been no solid evidence proclaiming it to be the next panacea.

It doesn't hurt to use the oil of oregano however you see fit. Just remember that good health still requires a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, stress-free environment, daily exercise, and overall positive demeanor in life.