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Although the first thing that crosses one’s mind when someone mentions oregano is pizza, this spice is in fact very well known for its health benefits. This perennial plant was famous in ancient Greece; Hippocrates used it as a cure for respiratory ailments, sore throat, and stomach problems.
Origanum vulgare, from mint family, is native to Mediterranean region. One can recognize oregano as a small shrub that can grow up to 75 cm in height, with many stems covered with oval leaves and small white or pink flowers.
Humans developed many subspecies of oregano for different purposes and with different astringents. The most popular cultivated varieties are Origanum heracleoticum that is famous in Greece, and Mexican oregano. One of the species that is very close to oregano is Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana).
Oregano is known to have excellent benefits for our organism, especially the immune system. These are the properties of oregano plant:
• has no cholesterol
• rich source of dietary fiber
• great source of essential oils
• rich with vitamin A
• rich with carotenes
• good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium
• excellent source of vitamin C
• source of vitamin K
Due to these nutrients, oregano has antioxidant, anti-septic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, and it can help with:
• blood cholesterol level
• mild fever
• different allergies
• athlete’s foot
• spider and insect bites
• muscle pain
Oregano Essential Oil
Oil is distilled extract from fresh plant and it is very concentrated. Due to the important essential oils, especially thymol, oregano essential oil is used in many treatments and therapies. Thymol is an immune system booster and natural fungicide that has strong antiseptic properties. It can prevent tissue damage and encourage healing.
The most important ingredients of the oil are above-mentioned thymol (also found in thyme oil) that also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, and carvacol that has the ability to kill harmful microbes in the body. Researchers have shown that it is effective in treating Candida, staphylococcus, E. coli, pseudomonas, salmonella, and listeria.
Due to the other compounds such as rosmarinic acid and quercetion, oregano oil is popular for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rosmarinic acid, for instance, is responsible for treating seasonal allergies, asthma, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle pain. This acid is stronger than vitamin E, it prevents free radical damage and is effective natural antihistamine. As a powerful antioxidant, oregano oil protects against the oxidation of bad cholesterol. It also contains good amount of cooper, and boron.
Oregano Oil for Acne Treatment
Oregano oil is a natural purifier for the skin and natural antibiotic. As we all know, acne is developed when dirt or grime clog our facial pores which is the ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive. After the infection, a painful bumps show on face, back or shoulders. On the other hand, acne can also be the consequence of a hormone disorder.
When treating acne with oregano oil one can apply oil directly on the infected area after the oil is diluted with water. Two drops of oregano oil diluted in 8 oz of water, twice a day, is natural remedy for acne. Another option is to soak a cotton cloth into the same solution and to apply it topically. Applying undiluted oregano oil on the skin is also a possibility. When treating acne with natural remedies it is obligatory to advice with health care provider because oregano can cause allergic reactions.
Oregano Oil for Sore Throats
When the first sign of the sore throat appears, taking oregano oil is great way to treat this problem. A few drops of oil with salt water or orange juice, several times a day, can stop the cold or flu. The results are noticeable after few hours. If you repeat this for 5 days, the symptoms are gone.
Oregano Oil for Digestive Problems
Due to the thymol and carvacol, oregano oil is used to treat digestive problems efficiently. These compounds can calm upset stomach and aid with digestion. Mix 2 to 3 drops of oil with milk or juice and drink it. Another option is to place 3 to 6 drops of oil in an empty capsule and to take it 2 to 3 times a day before meals.
Oregano Oil for Sinus Congestion
With its strong pungent taste and warming effects oregano oil has been used to treat sinus infections. It can easily penetrate into the sinuses to break up congestion and clear up the infection. Due to the carvacol and thymol, oregano oil has the ability to thin mucous, and relay muscle spasms associated with sinus. Oregano oil with water can be good topical treatment. In order to control the infection, one can snort 2 to 3 drops of oregano oil. For this infection, oregano in capsules can also help. The best way to use oregano oil for sinus infection is with olive oil, because oregano oils are very strong.
Oregano Oil for Ear Infections
Oregano oil is very beneficial for treating earache. The treatment should be done very carefully because oregano oil is very strong, and one must not put it directly in the ear canal. By rubbing this oil around the outside of the ear with cotton ball is the best option.
Oregano Oil for Burns
An instant pain relief is provided when one is treating burns with oregano oil. 2 drops mixed with olive oil and applied on the burn is the treatment.
Oregano Side Effects
Oregano in general is safe when taken in appropriate amounts. However, sometimes oregano can cause upset stomach and allergic reactions.
This wonderful aromatic herb surely has its healing powers and benefits. Oregano, which means “Mountain joy”, is the herb one should keep in the kitchen cupboard. After the health benefits we mentioned, it is not strange that this herb was the symbol of joy in ancient Greece.
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Ingram, C. (2009). The Miracle of Wild Oregano. Knowledge House Publisher.
Salima, C. (2007). Oregano Oil. Woodland Publishing.
Worwood, V. A. (1991). The Complete Book of essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-toxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health – Beauty – a Safe Home Environment. New World Library.
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