Oregano is a popular herb, especially in the Italian kitchen. We can find it in pizzas and pastas, and we all love them. But oregano is a lot more than seasoning. The health benefits of oregano essential oil are many and quite popular today.
Scientists study this plant and discover new benefits almost daily. Oregano essential oil is good at energizing the body and strengthening the immune system. It may help the body fight many types of infection. But it can also help the transit and stop the skin from itching.
In this article you’ll find out what oregano essential oil contains. After that, you can continue with the 10 of the most important health benefits of oregano essential oil.
But you will also find out about its interactions and precautions. They are especially useful when you want to add oregano essential oil in your diet or give it to someone else.
Finally, as a bonus, I will give you a few recipes with oregano essential oil to help you get started and try it out.
Did you know?
- Oregano was first used as medicinal plant in the 13th century BC, in ancient Greece. It used to be prescribed as a cure against gastric problems. Later on, Aristotle used oregano as a remedy against certain snake bites.
Oregano Essential Oil Composition
Botanical name: Origanum Vulgare (Lamiaceae plant family)
Texture: medium, green thick oil
Aroma: pungent, minty
Oregano essential oil contains:
- (60 – 70%) carvacrol and thymol (they are phenols). They give the oil powerful disinfectant properties. Phenols can kill many types of germs. But some phenols can also disrupt the activity of estrogenic and endocrine systems. Especially if they’re taken in high concentration.
- (25 – 30%) terpinene (part of the monoterpene chemical family). They give the oil the power to inhibit the accumulation of toxins. Monoterpenes can also balance the oil’s chemical structure. That balance can enhance the therapeutic properties of all the other compounds.
Then, we have:
- (5 – 10%) linalool (monoterpenols chemical family). Monoterpenols are responsible for the antibacterial, anti-viral and antifungal properties of an essential oil. But they can also cause allergies in highly sensitive people.
- (5 – 10%) others: cymene (monoterpenes). Pinene and borneol (terpenes) – have the ability to treat bronchitis and other respiratory problems. Bisabolene and caryophyllene –sesquiterpenes, which give the oil analgesic, sedative and antispasmodic properties.
Oregano essential oil and herb also contains:
- Vitamin B6,
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C,
- Vitamin E,
- Vitamin K.
Most studies performed in vitro or on mice are meant to show the oil’s efficiency on certain diseases. They managed to show that oregano oil may inhibit the development of certain fungi or bacteria. But it hasn’t yet been proven that the oil can treat specific illnesses or diseases.
The oil of oregano can be used to improve or prevent certain conditions. But it can also cause side effects because it’s very strong. You must hit the exact concentration to get good results. That’s very hard to do without a doctor’s help or advice.
Did you know?
- Roman mythology states that Venus wanted to do something to heal the wounds left by Cupid’s love arrows. So she designed the oregano plant to do just that.
The Most Important 10 Health Benefits of Oregano Essential Oil
Let’s see how we could use the oil of oregano to our benefit:
1) Oregano essential oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Bacteria live all around us. We could get a bacterial infection any day. But oregano oil can add an extra layer of protection to the immune system. It can protect against bacterial infections, especially in the urinary tract, or in the colon. But it can also help with food poisoning, skin infections or insect bites and sores.
2) Oregano essential oil has antifungal properties.
Oregano oil can also inhibit the fungal growth. It can help protecting against viruses and fungal infections. You can protect the whole family against flu epidemics if you diffuse oregano oil and citrus oils.
3) Oregano essential oil has antiviral properties.
Viral infections are dangerous and easy to contract. Oregano oil can help your immune system fight flus and colds. But it can also help with pox, measles and other virus related diseases.
There was this study on Murine Norovirus (MNV). MNV is a species of norovirus that affects mice. The study showed that oregano oil has potential as sanitizer against the human norovirus. The human norovirus is the main cause for stomach inflammations that cause gastroenteritis.
The study also showed that the carvacrol found in oregano oil can inactivate the Murine norovirus in one hour from exposure. Unfortunately, there’s not enough evidence to see how effective oregano oil is inside the body, yet. So, for now you could use oregano oil more to prevent stomach bugs.
4) Oregano essential oil is good for digestion.
One of the most important health benefits of oregano essential oil is that it can help with the digestion. It can stimulate the production of digestive juices. It can also increase the amount of enzymes necessary for a good digestion. A good digestion can give the body all the important nutrients and boost the immune system.
Oregano oil can also eliminate gases and bowel problems. Sick people can also take a bit of oregano essential oil to restore their appetite.
5) Oregano essential oil has analgesic properties.
Oregano oil with its sedative properties can reduce migraines and toothaches. But it can also reduce inflammatory pain and rheumatism pain.
6) Oregano essential oil has anti-allergenic properties too.
If you are not allergic to basil, mint or lavender, then oregano oil can help reduce other allergic reactions. Oregano oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Those properties may help the body fight off external stimuli that cause allergies.
7) Oregano essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
Being anti-inflammatory is one of the best health benefits of oregano essential oil. It is useful in treating external inflammations (redness, itching, irritation, and burning). It is mostly indicated for skin applications. Massaging a blend with oregano oil on the skin can target the problematic area and work faster than it would if swallowed.
8) Oregano essential oil can be a good anti-parasitic.
Oregano oil can prevent parasites from thriving inside or outside the body. Lice, mosquitoes, tape worms or bed bugs can all be kept at a fair distance if a blend of oregano oil is applied on the skin.
9) Oregano essential oil can help with respiratory problems.
The oil has the ability to relieve the respiratory tracts. It can also eliminate most of the buildups found in the sinuses. Oregano essential oil has sedative effects, so it can soothe an aching throat or lungs. Coughing fits can also be diminished with the help of oregano oil.
10) Oregano essential oil is also a good antioxidant.
Oregano oil is a popular antioxidant because it fights off oxidants. These oxidants are the free radicals responsible for premature aging effects. It helps repairing the damaged skin and slows down the process of aging. By strengthening the immune system it may also protect against various cancer forms.
The white blood cells are responsible for the body’s response against infections and diseases. Oregano essential oil can stimulate and increase the production of these white blood cells. This feature is responsible for strengthening the immune system too.
All the health benefits of oregano essential oil are still being studied. But I hope someday soon they’ll be able to prove that oregano oil can treat diseases with a lot more certainty.
Oregano Essential Oil Precautions and Interactions
Some essential oils can be toxic, especially if used in high amounts. Even if the oil of oregano is natural, it still has some very powerful compounds that can be toxic to the body.
High amounts (or supra dose) of oregano essential oil may cause:
- Stomach problems.
- Allergic reactions because of the linalool concentration.
- Cardiac problems.
- Respiratory difficulties.
The health benefits of oregano essential oil should always be enjoyed in low doses. If you intend to use oregano oil, you should be aware of its precautions and interactions too:
a) In lab tests, high amounts of carvacrol have proven deadly to mice.
b) Oregano essential oil is not for those who already have a sensitive immune system, or who are under strong medication.
c) Oregano essential oil is not for pregnant and lactating women.
d) It is also not recommended to children under 15 years old.
e) It is not recommended to people who undergo triple therapy or chemotherapy. The triple therapy uses 3 different types of antibiotics.
f) Oregano oil can burn the skin and cause irritations. It must always be used diluted in carrier oils like coconut or olive oil.
g) Always test it for allergies on the soft inside of the elbow. Oregano oil may cause reactions in people allergic to basil, mint, sage, marjoram or lavender.
h) Avoid repeated skin applications as it may sensitize the skin.
i) People with liver problems should not take oregano essential oil. Seek for a doctor’s approval before taking oregano oil internally.
j) People with hypertension have to use oregano oil with caution.
k) Oregano essential oil might lower blood sugar levels. That’s why people with diabetes should be cautious when using oregano essential oil.
Back in the old days, oregano was called “wild marjoram”. You must not confuse wild oregano (Origanum vulgare) with marjoram essential oil –Origanum majorana! They are not the same and they don’t have the same properties.
l) Oregano oil can stimulate the bladder, so it can influence the way the body gets rid of lithium. Lithium is generally good for the body. It is benefic for the brain (bipolar disorder). But high amounts of lithium can cause side effects like nausea or muscle weakness. Oregano essential oil interacts with lithium.
m) Oregano essential oil contains vitamin K. So it can interact with anticoagulant medication too.
Because of the many health benefits of oregano essential oil, its dosage usually varies a lot. It depends on the problem treated. The following doses are only estimative. That means they don’t necessarily represent the right dose for everyone. But they were used by people with no serious side effects reported. For instance:
- You can make yourself a blend from 12 drops of oregano oil. Mix them with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil and a tablespoon of zinc oxide. This blend can then be used for itching skin or eczema.
- You can make an infusion from 50 grams of oregano leaves, in a liter of water. Boil them for 7 minutes and drink 1 cup, three times a day. You can also inhale the steam of this infusion. Both methods can help with a sore throat or nasal congestion.
- You can also pour 2 drops of oregano essential oil on a tablespoon of sugar and take it 3 times a day (not for more than 7 days). It is recommended for bacterial diarrhea and fatigue. But studies show that oregano essential oil can have better effects if applied on the skin instead of ingesting it.
There is not enough relevant information on how much oil is absorbed or how exactly it targets the right body parts yet. That makes it a bit hard to estimate a proper dose. But if you talk to a doctor first and let him know you want to use oregano essential oil, he might know the right dose.
Oregano Essential Oil Recipes for Inspiration
Now that you know exactly what oregano oil is good for and what it contains, you can decide what to use it for. Here are 3 recipe ideas for you to start enjoying the health benefits of oregano essential oil.
If you’re worried about the growth of mold and fungi, you can make a blend from water and oregano essential oil. 60 ml (2 fl. Oz) of water mixed with 10 – 15 drops of oregano oil would be enough to use two times. Use a spray bottle and spray only the humid areas of your home or the shower to prevent the growth of mold or fungi.
Treating chest congestion is quite easy thanks to all the properties and health benefits of oregano essential oil. You can dilute 6 drops of oregano oil in 30 ml (1 fl. Oz) of carrier oil and then massage your chest area with this blend once or twice a day, or before going to bed.
If you have warts, you can try this simple recipe:
Pour 15 drops of oregano essential oil and 15 drops of the widely used coconut carrier oil. Mix them well in a roll-on bottle. Then apply on the warts twice a day. Continue so until you notice they start to fall off and the skin looks better.
As you can see, the health benefits of oregano essential oil are many and various. If used in a moderate dose, this oil can help you get rid of many health related issues. Just remember it’s a very powerful essential oil, and that it always needs to be diluted in a carrier oil. For internal use, I advise you to talk to a medic to find out the exact dose you can take.
What are your thoughts on oregano essential oil? Have you ever used it? Please share your experience so we can all learn from it and know more on this great essential oil.