Oregano Herb and the Health Benefits Of Oregano Oil
About The Oregano Plant - Origanum vulgare
The oregano plant - Origanum vulgare - grows in warm and temperate climates in the wild in the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. It is a perennial herb that grows to about 1.5 feet to just over 3 feet in height. In colder climates, however, the plant does not survive winter and is an annual plant.
The herb has purple coloured flowers and olive green, spade-shaped leaves.
It is known by various other names like; mountain mint, Mexican oregano, wintersweet, Mediterranean oregano etc. It is also known as wild marjoram in parts of Europe as it is related to sweet marjoram which is Origanum majorana.
Oregano is a natural antibiotic and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, digestive and emmenagogue properties.
Origanum majorana is the source of oregano that is commonly used as a food spice. It, however, is not as effective in treating health conditions, as Origanum vulgare.
About Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is an essential oil, derived from the wild oregano plant that grows in the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey and Spain. It is extracted from the leaves and flowers of 2 varieties of plants.
- Thymus capitatus - This variety grows in Spain.
- Origanum vulgare - This is the variety that grows in the rest of the Mediterranean and most of the oil of oregano is produced from this variety.
Oregano which is commonly used as a spice is the dried leaves of the plant, Origanum majorana and this variety does not have the extraordinary healing properties that oil of oregano derived from the above 2 varieties listed above.
The oregano spice that is commonly available in supermarkets is different from the true oregano that has medicinal benefits. Most of what is sold as oregano/oregano oil is, in fact, thyme or marjoram which is not true oregano.
Buy oil of oregano that has at least 70% Carvacrol, and is derived from the wild oregano, Origanum vulgare. Also, check to see if the ingredient list, lists olive oil above oregano oil, as then, it might be too diluted to have the desired benefit.
Olive oil is generally the preferred carrier oil used to dilute oregano oil.
Oregano oil is the most powerful and versatile antiseptic. Since oregano oil is very concentrated and strong it should be mixed with olive oil or coconut oil @ 1 drop of oregano oil to 1 tsp of the carrier oil before it is applied externally on the skin.
ORAC value of oregano oil is 15300 THE/100 grams.
Active Ingredients In Oregano Oil
Only the oregano oil derived from the wild Mediterranean oregano has a number of active ingredients that are responsible for its wide-ranging health benefits and activity against a variety of organisms/pathogens. The active principles in the oil are:
- Carvacrol - an excellent anti-microbial.
- Thymol - a fungicide & antiseptic.
- Limonene, Pinene, Ocimene - are terpenes that are anti-bacterial.
- Caryophyllene - an anti-inflammatory.
- Rosmarinic acid - a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine.
- Naringin - a flavonoid having protective & booster effects on other antioxidants along with anti-cancer properties.
- Linalool & Boureol - Anti viral & antiseptic.
- Linalyl acetate & Geranyl acetate - Antifungal esters.
Nutrients In Oregano Oil
Oregano oil contains excellent levels of vitamins A, C, E, K, B6. B2 and niacin while its mineral content includes calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper and boron.
General Health Benefits Of Oregano Oil
- Relieves pain, inflammations and congestion.
- Prevents food poisoning.
- Boosts immunity levels.
- Kills microbes and parasites.
- Clears skin infections and afflictions.
- Benefits in respiratory distress.
- Resolves digestive health issues and improves gut health.
- Acts as a strong anti-allergenic.
- Has a very powerful antioxidant property.
- Detoxifies and protects the liver.
- Powerful antitumour activity.
- Antimutagenic and antigenotoxic activity (reduces damage to DNA).
The Cure Is In The Cupboard
Dr Cass Ingram, author of the book, "The Cure Is In The Cupboard" reveals how he saved his life from a blood-borne fungus he contracted from an infected IV needle by using oil of oregano.
He lists over 170 conditions that this oil can be used for skin problems to intestinal problems, from cramps to pains, from inflammations to allergies etc.
Hereunder are 2 videos where Dr Cass Ingram talks about oregano oil.
Oil Of Oregano For Sinus
Oils of natural herbs like oregano are much safer for treating and curing sinus problems and also have the benefit of the virus not developing resistance to the oil, which is not the case with conventional medicines.
Oil of oregano boosts the immune system and kills the virus that causes a sinus infection.
Add 2-3 drops of oregano oil to a tsp of olive oil. Mix well and apply to the area over and around the sinuses. This will clear and open the nasal passages too.
Oregano Oil For Cancer
A study published in the issue of Phytomedicine states that carvacrol, a compound found in oregano oil prevents growth and spread of cancer in muscles and tissues by preventing DNA synthesis in the cells of the muscles.
Another study found that oregano oil is effective against human breast cancer cells in a tissue culture experiment. This study was published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Food Science.
Carvacrol in oregano oil protects against DNA damage to white blood cells. Therefore it has the potential for use in preventing cancer. This study was published in the November 2003 issue of cytotechnology.
Carvacrol in oregano oil regenerates the liver cells which is the major detoxification organ in the body and helps in preventing cancer.
Oregano Oil For Acne
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, millions of Americans suffer from acne and over 85% of teenagers in the United States suffer from acne.
Mix about 2 to 3 drops of oil of oregano in a glass of water. Apply this solution on the acne with a cotton ball. If there is redness after application, take a break for a few days and the use lesser amount of oil in the water and apply.
Oregano oil kills the acne-causing bacteria thereby clearing and preventing acne/pimples.
Oregano Oil For Allergies
Allergies today are a very common occurrence affecting every age group. Studies show that rosamarinic acid has potential benefits in preventing allergies.
A study published in the 2004 issue of Biofactors reveals that the group receiving rosamarinic acid showed lowering of allergic symptoms as compared to the group not receiving it.
A dose of 4-6 drops of oregano oil diluted with olive oil in a ratio of 1:4 or one capsule of 600 mg of oregano oil is the daily dose for an adult.
Oregano Oil For Arthritis
Inflammatory conditions like arthritis are accompanied by pain and loss of mobility of the affected joint. It is the most common inflammatory condition in the aged with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis being the 3 most common forms of arthritis.
Carvacrol in oregano oil has the ability to activate HSP or the heat shock proteins which are the body's natural anti-inflammatory defence mechanism. When HSP is activated high stress, inflammation and self-induced arthritis are suppressed. As the inflammation reduces, joint and muscle mobility is restored.
Also, as a painkiller oregano oil is as effective as morphine as the oil has the ability to penetrate deep down into the skin.
To apply externally on the affected joints, mix 1 drop of oregano oil with 5 drops of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
To use internally, mix 2 drops oregano oil in a glass of fruit juice and consume. It is advised to be taken for a maximum of 6 weeks at a stretch, then a pause of a minimum 2 weeks is advised before resuming again.
Oil Of Oregano For Sore Throat And Cold
Oil of oregano is effective in combating bacteria, virus and yeast, the causative organisms of sore throat and cold. Since the oil is also a strong pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, it is an effective natural remedy to relieve sore throat and cold.
About 2 drops of oregano oil can be mixed within a glass of saltwater and this water can be used to gargle about 3 to 4 times a day.
Adding 2-3 drops of oregano oil in honey or juice and consuming this will also aid in relieving these symptoms.
Oregano Oil For Weight Loss
Oregano oil holds promise as a weight loss and obesity reduction agent.
In a study, mice that were fed carvacrol in their diet showed that it prevented obesity by controlling weight gain and also lowered blood cholesterol and triglycerides. This was achieved by suppressing the formation of new fat cells.
Carvacrol is a major active component of oregano oil.
Oregano Oil For Herpes
Herpes is caused by a virus. It is a disease that causes a lot of pain and discomfort. Oregano oil kills the herpes virus.
A drop of oregano oil should be mixed in a tsp of olive oil and this should be rubbed over the spinal column. This is the spot where the herpes virus lives when dormant.
Also, 2 drops of oregano oil tincture are kept under the tongue 2 times a day.
Oregano Oil For Toenail Fungus
It has been found in tests that oil of oregano is about 100 times more effective than conventional medicines in combating Candida infections, the cause of fungal infection of the nails.
Oil of oregano can be applied directly or mixed with olive oil on the affected nails and cuticles. Use 3 times a day. To avoid reinfection, keep feet dry and also avoid walking barefoot in public areas like shower/changing rooms and gyms, and avoid sharing shoes and socks.
Oregano Oil for Skin
Oregano oil can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions of bacterial, viral or fungal origin like psoriasis, eczema, acne, thrush etc.
Add 1-2 drops of oregano oil to a tsp of extra virgin olive or coconut oil, mix and apply on the affected areas.
1-2 drops of oregano oil can be mixed in fruit juice and consumed too for faster results.
Oregano Oil For Parasites
Oregano oil consumed internally is effective in killing intestinal parasites. Studies have shown that the oil taken for a period of 6 weeks cured the subjects in the study, by getting rid of the parasites.
Taken internally oregano oil kills parasites like Cryptosporidium. Giardia, Flukes and others.
For prevention, add a drop of oregano oil to unsafe drinking water. To get rid of parasites, take 1-3 drops 3 times a day mixed with juice or milk.
Some More Health Conditions In Which Oregano Oil Benefits
Some more specific conditions in which the health benefits of oregano oil can be availed are:
- For Mouth Sores
Mix a drop of oregano oil in 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil. Keep this below the tongue till saliva collects in the mouth. Swish this around the mouth for 1-2 minutes and then spit it out. Repeat 2-3 times daily.
- For Toothache/Gum disease
Dilute oregano oil in a ratio of 1:1 with extra virgin olive oil. Rub it on the gums or around the affected tooth.
- For Insect Bites Including Spider & Snake Bite
Apply a 1:1 diluted mixture of oregano oil with extra virgin olive oil on and about the site of the bite. It helps to pull out toxins and heal them.
- For Arthritis/All Types Of Pains/Sprains/Backache
Rub in a mixture of equal quantity of oregano oil and extra virgin olive oil at the affected spot for relief.
- For Headaches Due To Migraine/Sinus
Rub a mixture of oregano oil and extra virgin olive oil taken in equal quantities, between the eyebrows, on the forehead, temples and on both sides of the nose for pain relief.
The oil vapours can also be inhaled directly for relief in stuffiness and congestion due to sinus.
- For Ear Problems
Rub oregano oil outside the ear. Do not put oil in the ear.
- For Burns
Add a drop or 2 of oregano oil to 1 tsp of extra virgin oil and apply to the burn or blister areas. It provides relief in pain.
- For digestive Problems
In a glass of milk or juice put 2-3 drops of oregano oil. Mix and drink.
- Colds/Sore Throat
Mix 3 drops of oregano oil in a glass of orange juice. Consume once daily for 3-5 days.
How Is Oregano Available?
Oregano oil is available in essential oil, capsules and tincture forms. The tincture form can be directly kept under the tongue or oregano oil can be mixed with olive oil and kept under the tongue.
Oregano Oil Dosage
Oregano oil is available in liquid, tincture and capsule form. All are equally effective and it all depends which form an individual prefers for use.
Dosage For Adults
4-6 drops of 100% purity per day. Dilute with extra virgin olive oil. 1 part of oregano oil with 3 parts of olive oil. Take 3-6 times a day based on the severity of the infection.
As a preventive measure, indications are for a dose of 1-4 drops per day placed under the tongue for a few minutes followed by intake of a glass of water.
Oregano oil in liquid form leaves a spicy tingling sensation as if one has had spicy food. One can drink some milk or chew on some bread which will increase salivation and reduce the feeling of spiciness.
If the liquid form is felt too spicy use the capsule form of oregano oil.
Oregano Oil Dosage For Topical Application
When used externally to treat skin conditions and musculoskeletal conditions, put 1-2 drops on the affected spot and massage it. Allow the oil to get absorbed fully.
Even if it feels better, use only a little oil and do not be tempted to increase the quantity of oil in the hope that more will be better and will act faster. More is not always better, especially in the case of oregano oil which is a very strong and potent oil.
Oregano Oil Dosage For Capsule Form
In some studies, the dosage went as high as 600 mg oregano oil per day while some studies found it to as effective at lower levels.
It is always wise to take into account the possible side effects of oregano oil and try to be on the safer side by consuming a lower dosage.
There are no studies that specifically outline a specific dose that is the most potent. It is better to stay safe, use common sense and stay below the dose recommended by the manufacturer.
Some Points Of Note & Precautions
- Oregano oil thins the blood. Therefore those who are on blood-thinning drugs should be extra cautious.
- Oregano oil may reduce iron absorption. Hence, regular use should preferably be supplemented with iron.
- It may stimulate blood flow in the uterus causing weakening of the lining that surrounds the fetus. Pregnant women should, therefore, avoid taking it. Also, women who are breastfeeding should avoid its use.
- Oregano oil is very strong, hence, it should be diluted with extra virgin olive oil in a 1:1 ratio before use. If used in the mouth it is better to dilute it further.
- A sensation of warmth and tingling may be felt in the mouth when liquid oil is taken orally. Reduce dose if too spicy.
- One may experience stomach upset if a stronger undiluted dose is taken.
Dilute it with extra virgin olive oil or buy diluted oregano oil.
- Liquid oil can be taken with juice or milk while the capsule form can be taken with food to prevent heartburn in those prone to it.
Enteric-coated capsules are also available. They can be taken to prevent stomach side effects.
- Do not worry too much about the oregano oil's potency being reduced or affected if less is taken.
In the case of essential oils, less is not less effective. Oregano oil is very strong and only a small amount is sufficient.
- Avoid using oregano oil if you are allergic to oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram or similar plants.
- Take care not to get it into the eyes, mucous membranes and the genital area as it is very strong and may cause a burning sensation.
If you accidentally do get it, flush the area with milk or yoghurt for relief.
Do not use water and contact a doctor if there is no relief.
- Drink plenty of water when taking oregano oil internally.
- Discontinue use if you feel worse.
Roger Baird, "High on the Herbal Hierarchy," Vista Magazine, Issue 39, p. 66.
Roger Baird, "Treating Yourself with Wild Oregano Oil," Vista Magazine, Issue 44, p. 52.
Kindly Rate This Hub. Thanks.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly