The oregano herb has been used since ancient times by races across the world to treat various health conditions. The health benefits of oregano oil have long been known to be antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial in nature, and the oil has applications not only in the medical world but also it is widely used in cooking. Many cultures even consider the oil a bringer of fortune and good luck – a truly unique oil!
Oregano oil is loaded with minerals including iron, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Adding to that, the oil in oregano is rich in carvacrol and thymol. Both of these naturally occurring compounds give oregano oil its medicinal properties. Carvacrol is the compound that gives Oregano its slightly tangy and spicy taste, warming the tongue with pungent aromatics. It also happens to be quite adept at killing pathogens. Likewise, thymol also has antibacterial properties and the combination of both thymol and carvacrol work by inhibiting unwanted bacteria’s ability to break down healthy cell membranes (1), thus preventing the spread of infections through the body.
Health Benefits of Oregano Oil
Oregano oil can be used both internally and as a topical application. Given its medicinal properties, the potential health benefits of oregano oil are widespread. However, here have listed the most important and typical applications of oregano oil.
1) Supports Respiratory Function
Oregano oil is known to have expectorant properties – i.e. it promotes the elimination of mucus and phlegm from the respiratory system. It also soothes the inflamed throat by fighting the multitude of bacteria that cause respiratory problems. A study conducted on thyme oil (a close relative of oregano) showed the carvacrol active ingredient was effective against a host of bacteria, and the oil even had an impact on penicillin-resistant strains. (2). Indeed carvacrol is often used as a component of commercially produced dental mouthwashes given its ability to fight infections. Rather than buying expensive carvacrol, why not try a far more agreeable home remedy for your throat problems. You can use the diluted oil as a mouthwash or inhale it through a steam treatment. Just bring 4 cups of water to boil. Remove from the water from the heat and add five drops of oregano oil to it. Hold your face over the hot water container and inhale the steam. The steam will help to clear mucus, kill the bacteria and allow you to breathe much freer again.
2) Fight Pneumonia
Oregano oil possesses powerful antibacterial properties, which can help in fighting the bacteria that cause pneumonia. (3) However, the concentrations of carvacrol in the body which are necessary to cure the infection outright would be at levels that are considered toxic. A possible side effect of regular consumption of oregano oil is that it may reduce the ability of the body to absorb iron. Ingesting oregano oil at the high levels needed to fight off the bacteria completely, is therefore not recommended. Instead, oregano oil should be used as a complementary medicine alongside other traditional and homeopathic treatments.
For treatment, add three drops of oregano oil to a glass of water or juice and drink once a day till the symptoms disappear.
Caution: If taking oregano oil regularly, it is recommended to take iron supplements to help manage iron levels.
3) Strengthens Digestion
Oregano oil benefits the digestive system by destroying pathogenic gut bacteria while leaving body’s natural gut flora relatively unharmed. Likewise, oregano oil also destroys H.pylori, a bacteria that causes a gastric ulcer. (4) It can also relieve constipation and diarrhea as the oil promotes bile flow thereby aiding in the healthy functioning of the digestive tract.
Two to three drops of oregano oil or a handful of oregano leaves can use to brew a refreshing herbal tea for digestive conditions. You can also add it to your food.
Caution: Though oregano oil works great for digestion, if consumed in too great a quantity, it can begin to harm the good gut bacteria as well. Hence, it is recommended to restrict treatment to no more than two weeks and combine the treatment with iron supplements.
4) Relieves Stomach Problems
The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of oregano oil aid in treating stomach disorders caused due to factors such as bacterial infection and intake of toxic food. The presence of oregano oil in a salad for instance effectively sterilizes the food prior to consumption, preventing food poisoning before it happens.(5)
Add 4 to 5 drops of oregano oil in herbal tea for stomach pain and other stomach disorders. You can have the tea twice a day during discomfort.
Use oregano oil in salad dressing to reduce the risk of food poisoning
5) Boosts Immunity
Oregano oil is a powerful immune booster. It supports liver and colon health thereby boosting the immune system. Oregano stimulates the body’s defenses and prevents viral infection, inflammation, cold and fever.
6) Soothes Menstrual Problems
Menstrual cramps and PMS are common in most of the women. Oregano oil comes to rescue by relieving painful menstruation, menstrual cramps, and irregular menstrual cycle.
Add 2 to 3 drops of oregano oil to ginger tea to relieve menstrual pain. Mix 2 to 3 drops of oregano oil and a teaspoon of coconut oil and apply it on your lower abdomen and massage to treat menstrual cramps.
7) Cancer treatment
It’s a big claim to say that Oregano oil can treat or even cure cancer. While the word ‘cure’ is perhaps a little too strong, there is some evidence to suggest that it can be used as a treatment.
A compound found in oregano, carnosol, has been researched for its anti-cancer properties and has shown promising results on colon, breast and lung cancer. Indeed it is even theorized that the low occurrence of certain cancers in the Mediterranean regions is due to the high consumption of the herb in cooking. (6),(7)
8) Relieves Skin Conditions
Oregano is used successfully in the treatment of skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. The antiseptic properties of oregano help to destroy bacteria, fungi, and yeast and keep the skin clear.
Apply oregano oil on the affected area twice a day. The oil can be added with coconut oil and applied on the affected skin.
9) Minimizes Risk of Heart Conditions
Being a powerful antioxidant, oregano oil is effective in promoting heart health. It helps to maintain blood pressure levels, reduces cholesterol levels and keeps the heart healthy. It also reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
However, those with heart conditions should seek expert advice before using oregano oil.
10) Fight Arthritis
Oregano oil has been proved effective for arthritic conditions. The oil penetrates into the skin and reaches the joints and relieves pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of oregano oil help to relieve arthritic condition caused due to infection, and as such, the oil can improve joint mobility and flexibility. (8)
Add one drop of oregano oil to 5 drops of coconut oil. Mix well and apply on the affected joints.
11) Improves Bone Health
Oregano oil is rich in calcium, manganese, and iron, which are essential for bone health. It also is a rich source of vitamin K. A study conducted by the Swiss researchers, showed that an active ingredient in the oil (beta-caryophyllin) was effective in staving off bone degeneration associated with osteoporosis. (9)
12) Aids In Weight Loss
Again it is carvacrol, the active ingredient in oregano oil, which helps to check undue weight gain. The carvacrol in Oregano oil helps to increases metabolic rate thereby preventing weight gain.(10)
13) Promotes Liver Health
Oregano oil is an excellent remedy to treat liver conditions. Studies have shown that oregano is effective in promoting liver and colon health.
For those with a liver problem, taking ten drops of oregano oil every day will greatly help. To complement the effects of oregano oil, have a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and vitamins.
14) Help prevent Urinary Tract Infections
15) Helps fight depression
Studies on carvacrol have shown that ingestion of the compound can help with depression. Not only have the antidepressant effects of carvacrol been observed, but a link was established between carvacrol and its influence on dopamine nerve transmission. (12) Dopamine is a chemical in the brain which is related to mood, drive, and motivation. People who suffer depression typically show reduced levels. Consumption of oregano oil can alleviate problems associated with low dopamine levels and aid in the fight against depression.
• Buy oregano oil from a reliable source as inferior quality oil can contain toxins.
• Check for allergic reactions, if any, before proceeding with using the oil.
• Use only diluted oregano oil.
• Pregnant women should refrain from consuming oregano as it can stimulate blood flow to the uterus, weakening the womb lining.
• Breastfeeding women should also refrain from using the oil.
• Do not consume oregano oil for more than two weeks. If the health condition demands regular use discontinue use for two weeks and restart using.