A member of the mint family, oregano is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is easy to grow–makes a lovely ground cover–and is a versatile botanical for both culinary and medicinal use.
In traditional herbal medicine, oregano (typically the essential oil) has been used to ease the symptoms of a number of health concerns, including:
- abrasions and minor wounds
- sore muscles
- cold symptoms
- inflammation due to joint stiffness
Oregano contains two essential oils: carvacrol and thymol. Some research has shown these oils to have antimicrobial properties. In particular, studies have shown the oils to be a deterrent to the growth of microbes that can infect meat and dairy products. Other components of oregano essential oils are noted for anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s important to note that the essential oils of oregano are very concentrated–much different than if you were to eat oregano as part of a healthy diet. Oregano is a wonderful addition to any diet. Fresh or dry, oregano adds a sharp flavor to sauces, stews, marinades, and of course, topping for pizza.
If you want to learn more about the health benefits of oregano for a particular health concern, consult with a holistic physician trained in botanical medicine.
“Oregano: MedlinePlus Supplements.” https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/644.html
Teixeira, B., et al. “Chemical Composition and Bioactivity of Different Oregano (Origanum Vulgare) Extracts and Essential Oil.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 93, no. 11 (August 30, 2013): 2707–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.6089
Fournomiti, M., et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils of Cultivated Oregano (Origanum Vulgare), Sage (Salvia Officinalis), and Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) against Clinical Isolates of Escherichia Coli, Klebsiella Oxytoca, and Klebsiella Pneumoniae.” Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 26 (2015): 23289. https://doi.org/10.3402/mehd.v26.23289
Ragi, J., et al. “Oregano Extract Ointment for Wound Healing: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Petrolatum-Controlled Study Evaluating Efficacy.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 10, no. 10 (October 2011): 1168–72. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21968667/