Whether it be a daily lemon water, a healing chicken soup, or a dose of echinacea, everybody’s got their own unique ritual that they practice when they get sick–and for some, that includes oregano oil.
Oregano is used to season many of our favourite recipes, but for centuries, people have also been using the oil extract of oregano as a health booster, especially to ward off illness. Even today, the high antibacterial properties in this concoction have many people opting for a glass of water with a few drops of the stuff when they feel a sore throat or chills coming on.
But what does it really do?
First, a little background on this perennial herb. Native to the Mediterranean region, oregano is a flowering plant within the mint family. Generally described as possessing an aromatic earthy scent and slightly bitter flavour, oregano is probably most notorious for its use in Italian dishes including pizzas, pastas, and roasted vegetables. It’s often paired with basil as a basis for many Italian seasonings.
It’s great stuff, and we haven’t even touched on the health benefits yet. If all this oregano talk has got you dreaming about sizzling pasta sauces and the like, check out some of our recipes that use oregano here!
Health benefits of oregano oil
Fights stuffy noses and sore throats
Being stuffed up is no fun. Try adding a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer and inhaling for a few minutes. Drinking a few drops in a glass of water will also provide some relief from a sore throat.
Contains vital nutrients.
Both fresh oregano and the oil extract contain significant amounts of Omega-3’s, Iron, Manganese, and antioxidants. All of which help to support a healthy immune system during cold and flu season.
Helps treat and prevent infection.
A growing body of research is supporting that oil of oregano is a powerful tool to protect against harmful bacteria that lead to infection.
In a study from the US Department of Agriculture, researchers found that oregano essential oils presented potent action against Salmonella and E.coli. A different study shared similar antibacterial findings, showing that oregano oil was such a powerful antibacterial agent that it could be used to preserve food.
You can use it on your skin.
Many believe oil of oregano to be helpful for skin conditions like cold sores, muscle aches, nail fungus, joint pain, and dandruff. Although take care to make sure you aren’t using oregano oil on broken or sensitive skin, as it can be irritating.
Contains powerful antibacterial properties.
Oregano is probably best known for its antibacterial properties. Regarded by both natural health practitioners and mainstream medical communities for its benefits, it is considered to be antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, and immune stimulating.
And especially in the heat of cold and flu season, these are the words we want to hear.
Could help prevent candida overgrowth.
The high antioxidant content in oregano allows it to be helpful in preventing and controlling yeast infections. This is due to a particular compound in oregano called carvacrol, which has been found to inhibit candida yeast.
Some things to remember:
- Perhaps it is an acquired taste, but most agree that oil of oregano is not particularly tasty. It has a fairly pungent bitterness that some may call (extremely) unpleasant.
- Because oregano oil in its pure form is so strong, it should only be used when diluted by a carrier oil. Many products have been pre-diluted, but it’s important to check the label to make sure. If it is sold in its pure form, it’s best practice to always dilute with one part oregano oil, three parts olive oil, however you plan to use it.
- Oil of oregano isn’t for everyone. This product should be avoided by children, as well as pregnant or nursing women. It’s always a smart move to discuss your new wellness routine with a health professional before beginning, especially in case your new remedy is counteracting any medications or treatments you are currently engaged in.
Do you have your own ‘natural antibiotic’ ritual in place for combating sickness? Let us know in the comments!