Oil of Oregano: 10 Mind Blowing Benefits Of This Potent Essential Oil
Oregano is a popular herb used for flavoring many dishes including pizza and pasta sauces. This Mediterranean herb comes from the plant family Lamiaceae that has given us several other culinary herbs such as mint, basil, sage, marjoram, and lavender. For flavoring purposes, oregano is more often used in its dry form.
Commercially available herb mixes may contain several other herbs, particularly marjoram which looks and tastes very similar to oregano. But the essential oil of oregano is extracted from the Mediterranean or Greek oregano that goes by the scientific name Origanum vulgare. This potent oil has been used for thousands of years for treating a vast number of medical conditions.
The leaves and other parts of the oregano plants contain many biologically active compounds, the most important among them being the polyphenols carvacrol, thymol, terpinene and cymene. They also contain ursolic acids and oleanolic acids that are known to intervene in cell physiology in specific ways.
Most culinary herbs have some beneficial action that goes beyond the temporary titillation of our taste buds; oregano is no exception. Let’s look at some of the benefits of this highly potent essential oil…
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Oil of oregano relieves stomach upsets
The origin of oregano tea as a folk remedy for upset stomach is lost in antiquity. However, there’s evidence that it had the seal of approval of the 5th-century Greek physician Hippocrates among other great ancient healers.
Upset stomachs may be caused by a number of things including mild bacterial infections, ingestion of toxins or allergens, indigestion due to endocrine problems and discomfort arising from excessive production of acid or gas.
The antimicrobial activity of the oil of oregano is tested and proven in several laboratory tests as well as small trials in animals and humans. It has been found to be effective against several types of bacteria causing gastrointestinal infections and food poisoning, including E.coli and Salmonella. The polyphenols carvacrol and thymol are thought to be responsible for the antimicrobial action, but there may be several other bioactive substances contributing to it as well.
Infective organisms and the toxins they produce often inflame the stomach lining, but the anti-inflammatory property of oregano oil takes care of that. It is antispasmodic too, relieving stomach pain and cramping.
Apart from this, oregano essential oil is a carminative, meaning it reduces gas formation in the stomach. It is a cholagogue too, facilitating the release of bile and helping in the digestion of fats. A warm tea with a few drops of oregano oil may help settle your stomach after a heavy meal.
Unlike conventional drugs designed to treat a specific problem, wholesome natural remedies like oregano oil tackle a number of issues at the same time. Its beneficial action is multipronged, to say the least. To get relief from any kind of stomach discomfort, you can safely use 5-6 drops of oregano oil 2-3 times a day. Many people add it to both peppermint and lemon tea.
Oil of oregano helps get rid of intestinal worms Adding oil of oregano to cod liver oil will help rid your dog of parasites. If you are worried about using garlic as an antihelminthic agent for dogs, try oregano instead.
Oregano oil can be safely used to get rid of worm infestations in people too. You can spike ginger tea or lemonade with 2-3 drops of the essential oil. Drink this 3-4 times a day. For children, make the oil more palatable by mixing it with some raw honey.
Oregano oil can tackle respiratory problems
Many European herbal remedies for respiratory ailments contain oregano as a major ingredient. It is used both internally and externally to relieve symptoms of cold and flu, bronchitis and asthma. Laboratory tests have proven the efficacy of oregano oil in destroying Staphylococcus aureus responsible for many upper respiratory infections. It is found to be equally effective against Klebsiella pneumoniae, which causes lower respiratory tract infections.
While the antibacterial agents thymol and carvacrol found in oil of oregano act directly against the infective organisms, its anti-inflammatory action helps relieve nose and airway congestion. It also helps relieve headaches due to sinus congestion and as expectorant, provides quick relief from bronchitis and associated coughing.
Irritation caused by airborne allergens such as pollen and mold can unleash an inflammatory reaction in the respiratory tract. Besides bringing down inflammation, oil of oregano acts as a mild sedative, reducing the body’s response to allergens.
Oregano oil has been found to be particularly effective in relieving croup, the barking cough associated with infections of larynx and trachea, mostly caused by viruses. It is not clear whether it is the anti-inflammatory action or an antiviral effect at work here, or both.
The advantage of treating respiratory tract problems with oregano oil is that you don’t have to determine the exact cause. You can use a few drops of oil internally with a soothing tea or inhale the vapors. Mixed with equal quantities of coconut oil, you can also use it as a chest rub.
Oil of oregano gives relief from several skin ailments People who suffer from skin disorders including psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, candidiasis and other skin infections find relief with the external application of oregano oil. However, remember that this oil is ‘hot’ in its property, and can cause redness and skin irritation if used in the concentrated form. Jojoba oil, coconut oil and olive oil are good carrier oils than can modulate the effect of oregano oil. Try it on a small area and adjust the concentration, if necessary, before applying on larger areas.
Oil of oregano helps treat fungal infections
The potent antifungal property of oregano oil can be used to remedy several fungal infections commonly found on the skin and inside the body. It is rich in thymol that has been tested against a large number of pathogenic fungi, including Candida and yeast and found to be as effective as conventional antifungal drugs. Oregano oil offers a much safer alternative to these extremely toxic drugs.
Oil of oregano is very effective in treating tinea pedis, a common fungal infection known as athlete’s’ foot. You can easily pick up this contagious disease from swimming pools, changing rooms, gyms and other places where people with this infection walk barefoot. As a precaution, massage your feet with a few drops of the essential oil mixed with a teaspoonful of jojoba oil before and after you visit such places. Keep cotton balls dipped in oregano oil inside shoes to keep them fresh and to reduce the chances of athlete’s foot.
If you have itching or peeling skin between your toes, apply above mixture several times a day until it clears. Taking the oil internally may help control yeast infections which are now thought to be responsible for a number of ailments that have no apparent reason. These ailments are known to produce autoimmune responses in the body.
Nail fungus can be a recurrent problem in some people. You can mix equal quantities of olive oil and the oil of oregano and use a drop of this mixture directly on the nails. Several skin problems like psoriasis and urticaria are complicated by secondary fungal infections. But the highly potent oregano oil should be diluted before applying it to large areas of the skin as it can produce a rash.
Oregano oil can relieve menstrual problems
Oregano oil has been traditionally used to treat menstrual problems like amenorrhea as well as painful periods referred to as dysmenorrhea. Being an emmenagogue, it stimulates blood flow to the pelvic area and induces uterine contractions, facilitating good menstrual flow. For the same reason, medicinal use of oregano oil should be avoided during pregnancy. However, culinary use of the herb is not known to cause any problems for pregnant women.
Drink ginger tea mixed with 2-3 drops of oregano oil if you have painful or scanty periods. Or you can add a few drops of the oil to chamomile tea to increase its efficacy. To get relief from menstrual cramps, rub a mixture of 5-6 drops of oregano oil and a teaspoon of coconut oil on the lower abdomen.
Oil of oregano reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancers
The antioxidant property of the oregano oil can protect your heart and blood vessels from free radical damage. The ursolic acid in the essential oil has been found to inhibit cancer cell proliferation in several ways.
Another beneficial activity of ursolic acid is that it increases the amount of brown fat and muscle while decreasing white fat deposition. This may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders in overweight people.
Oregano oil can help in the management of diabetes The essential oils of oregano and rosemary may help control Type II diabetes by inhibiting the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV that promotes insulin production. Phytochemicals hold the key to most of the diseases that trouble us. Many drugs are either derived from or modeled on potent plant molecules.
A typical example is the drug metformin widely used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. It is a synthetic form of a plant chemical first extracted from Galega officinalis, a European herb commonly known as French lilac or goat’s rue.
Obesity and chronic inflammation in the body are implicated in metabolic diseases including diabetes. Oregano has already been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help reduce inflammation. It is known to have a regulatory effect on fat accumulation too, particularly the white fat which is more problematic. So, it is not surprising that oregano oil has a positive effect on diabetes management.
Conventional medicine may not accept the efficacy of oregano and rosemary oils until the potent components are isolated and synthesized in laboratories. But that shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the wholesome benefits of these essential oils. Keep track of your blood results as you start with small doses. It may help you cut down on your medication and eventually stop it.
Oregano oil has uses in animal care Several skin problems and external parasites in dogs and cats can be controlled with the oil of oregano. You can apply the oil to areas where the pets have lost fur due to hot spots, ringworm infections or mange. It is well tolerated when used slightly diluted with carrier oils. Mix a teaspoonful of oregano oil to a gallon of warm water and use it as a final rinse after you finish bathing the dog. This will help control fleas and other skin parasites.
Oregano oil has been successfully used to treat arthritis in dogs. You can try adding a few drops of the oil to wet dog food or cod liver oil to make it more attractive to your pets. Cats have a problem with metabolizing certain substances, including many phenolic compounds. However, oregano oil can be given in small doses without any adverse effect. Do not exceed more than one or two drops per day.
Antibiotics are conventionally mixed with poultry feed to keep the chickens healthy and to help them gain weight at a faster rate. Many organic farmers have now shunned these drugs and turned to the oil of oregano. It is heartening to note that the essential oil provide the same benefits sans the undesirable side effects of antibiotic use.
Oil of oregano is useful as an insect repellent
Oregano oil has long been used for the control of head lice. Many household pests can be effectively controlled with this pungent oil. It makes an excellent antiseptic surface wipe to keep away ants and cockroaches as well. Put 20 drops each of oregano oil and lemon oil in a spritz bottle and fill it up with water. Shake well to make a fine emulsion. Spray it on your work surfaces and wipe dry. You can put a few drops of the oil on cotton balls and keep them inside kitchen cabinets.
The aromatic herb is generally free of insect pests and helps keep the critters away from neighboring plants. For this reason, it is a welcome addition to any vegetable patch. You can alternatively make an insect repellant spray with a spoonful of oregano oil and a few drops dishwashing liquid in a half-gallon spray can. Drench your pest-prone vegetables with this instead of chemical pesticides.
Always Use Quality Oil Of Oregano
Most of the above therapeutic uses are attributed to the essential oil of oregano extracted from Origanum vulgare. Other aromatic plants from the mint family and several other related plant families contain many common volatile agents such as thymol and terpinene. Their essential oils may have some of the health benefits of pure oregano oil, but not all.
For instance, the Mexican oregano Lippia graveolens and Cuban oregano Plectranthus amboinicus are widely used in the production of dried oregano herb as well as the essential oil. When used for flavoring, it may not make much of a difference, but they may not be as effective in treating certain medical conditions that call for the use of pure Mediterranean oregano oil.
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