Benefits, Treatments, and Uses of Oregano

Ophelia Gherman, M.D.
November 2, 2017
Rather than triggering a cascade of unpleasant side effects, these various oils and plants, work by gently reinstating balance and health to the diseased body or organ without creating imbalance elsewhere.  

The analogy of the sower and the seed was used by Jesus when speaking of the kingdom of Heaven. This simple correlation between a tiny object and His vast kingdom reveals God’s principle of action. He is the God of all possibilities. The little and insignificant, when directed by His Hand, can exert great influence and ignite powerful change. His mode of speaking, interacting, teaching, and even healing was so divergent from the puritanical practices of His time, that many were offended and stupefied.  “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty,”  1 Corinthians 1:27.

 

Similarly, the power and healing properties of essential oils may seem to clash with the advancements of modern pharmaceutical treatments. To most post-modern scientists, herbs and roots have little respect for their medicinal abilities. Recently, however, the non-imposing, nurturing, and gentle healing properties of many aromatic plants have garnered scientific attention due to increased awareness of antibiotic over-use, bacterial resistance, and high side-effect profiles of drugs. Rather than triggering a cascade of unpleasant side effects, these various oils and plants, work by gently reinstating balance and health to the diseased body or organ without creating imbalance elsewhere.  

 

OREGANO

The oregano plant is of Mediterranean origin and part of the mint (Lamiaceae) family. It is a wild plant with a prominent aroma. In the culinary world, it is popularly used in fresh or dried leaf form. In recent years, oregano oil has gained much attention from the scientific community due to its health benefits.

 

HEALTH PROPERTIES

Some of the most well-known studies show oregano effectively inhibiting the growth of common household molds in bread, cheeses, and meats. Oregano’s most abundant phytonutrient compound is called carvacrol, but it boasts over 50 compounds that render it an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and an antioxidant. Due to its studied effects against  E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus, it can also be safely used for home cleaning purposes.

 

FORM

Oregano leaves can be used fresh, dried, and distilled into essential oils which can be used internally, topically, and inhaled for multiple health purposes. The quality of any oil or herbal supplement depends on the soil and environment in which it grew, the time of year and mode it was harvested, and the mode of preparation. P73 Oregano is a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals. P73 stands for polyphenol 73 percent and is a specific blend of several high-grade, medicinal, wild oregano. To ensure the best quality, only use oregano products that are made from wild, mountain-grown Mediterranean oregano, free of all chemicals and pesticides, which contain a high content of both carvacrol and thymol.

 

USES

One easy way to begin exploring the use of oregano oil is to enjoy its aromatic and cleansing properties as a household cleaner and air purifier: 

 

Cleaning Agent: Popular household cleaners contain toxic chemicals, which are harmful to adults and more so to children. The labels themselves disclose that the chemicals may be toxic to skin, eyes, and exacerbating to those with asthma and allergies. But then there are also harmful bacteria that lurk in our bathrooms, floors, and kitchen which bring disease and suffering. Even household air contains common bacteria. What can be done? Oil of oregano is able to destroy several types of bacteria commonly found at home, plus common household molds. Make a cost-effective all-purpose cleaner by combining 1 cup water + 1 cup vinegar +  20-40 drops of oregano oil and mix well in a spray bottle.

 

In most studies, oregano oil was shown to be effective against mold and bacteria even in small quantities. When adding oregano oil to a diffuser, use 3 drops to 15 ml of water. You may also choose to add other essential oils that are high in carvacrol, thymol, and other phenols such as clove, cinnamon bark, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender. 

 

Oil of oregano also has several health benefits and uses too. Unlike antibiotics, this plant oil also acts against viral and fungi infections.

 

Tea: Oregano tea can be prepared using fresh or dried leaves. Steep 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink up to three times daily to help heal a cough, bronchitis, or sinusitis. Add raw honey and lemon for added benefit and flavor.

 

Oil: Oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings or “Oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC value,” which helps boost your immune system and helps reduce infection. It can also provide preventative benefit against intestinal parasitic infection while traveling abroad. Mix 2-3 drops of oregano oil into 8 oz of water or juice and drink daily. Increase drops as needed if your comfort level allows. Oregano oil capsules are also available, which may be more palatable. Add 1 drop of oregano oil to salad dressings or add to pasta sauces in lieu of dried oregano.  

 

Capsule: Pure and authentic oregano oil in P73 form is also found in capsule form. Each softgel contains 6 drops of pure essential oil of oregano. Take as directed on the bottle. For parasitic cleanse, use 500 mg of oregano four times daily for 2 weeks. Longer courses of treatment are not advised due to the potential of liver toxicity of thymol.  

 

When using internally, it’s important to note that some healthy strains of our intestinal flora, called Lactobacillus are susceptible to oregano’s anti-bacterial effects. Therefore, supplementing with live and active culture foods or a high-count probiotic with Lactobacillus is recommended. Lactobacillus helps aid in digestion and offers protection from other bad bacteria. Common probiotic supplements include yogurt, miso, soy products, and fermented or unfermented milk.

 

Oil Applied Topically: Topical fungal infections are caused by a class of fungus called dermatophytes. Fungal skin infections commonly appear on thighs, under breasts, and between toes and fingers. These rashes appear pink or red and usually warm in nature. The infected patches of skin are sometimes dry with scaly skin or alternatively, inflamed with fluid discharge. Add 20-40 drops of oregano oil to daily bath water, or 10-20 drops in a basin to soak the affected area for 15-30 minutes to treat the infection. Alternatively, apply it locally with a ratio of 1-3 drops of oregano oil in 1 Tablespoon of carrier oil as tolerated.

 

For fungal nail infections, dilute 1 teaspoon of oregano oil with equal amounts of olive oil and massage the mixture on the affected nails and cuticles 2-3 times daily. Bacterial infections should heal within a week of starting treatment. If redness, pain, swelling, fever, or drainage increase, visit a medical care provider immediately. Fungal infections heal rather slowly and typically require several courses and months of medical treatment, therefore, use of essential oil of oregano should be timed regularly and strictly adhered to for several weeks.

 

On a wound, use oregano oil to prevent an infection after an animal or human scratch or bite. Add 3 drops of oregano oil to 1 Tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and apply on the affected area three times daily. Alternatively, use almond or jojoba oil as a carrier oil.

 

Oregano is highly detested by most insects, thus it can be used an excellent insect repeller. Studies show it can be effective for up to 210 minutes when the adequate concentration is used. Add 10 drops of oregano with citronella and eucalyptus oil infused in witch hazel for an effective DEET-free insect repellant.

 

The multi-beneficial bioactivities of carvacrol, a compound found in many aromatic herbs including oregano, make it appealing for patients with acquired multi-drug resistant infections and those wishing to preclude additional side effects common to commercial antibiotics. Its use can also augment main-stream treatment plans or offer the average household easy access to treatment when prompt medical evaluation is not available. It’s also wise to remember that oregano packs strong volatile oils, so when using topically and internally, less is more!  

 

Note: Consult your doctor if you have any type of infection. One should consult with a medical provider if signs of infection worsen such as an increase in fever, swelling, inflammation, bleeding, or uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhea. Although studies support oregano’s use for multiple forms of infection, the quantities and duration of treatment necessary have not been adequately studied. Further studies are needed. If pregnant, enjoy oregano in your favorite dishes, diffused or on minor skin cuts but avoid the internal use of essential oil. Additionally, read the label of any essential oil carefully to ensure that it is appropriate for internal use.

 

References

Bona E, Cantamessa S, Pavan M, Novello G, Massa N, Rocchetti, Berta G, Gamalero E: Sensitivity of Candida albicans to essential oils: are they an alternative to antifungal agents? J Appl Microbiol. 2016 Dec;121(6):1530-1545

Blaiotta, G.; Ercolini, D.; Pennacchia, C.; Fusco, V.; Casaburi, A.; Pepe, O. (2004). PCR detection of staphylococcal enterotoxin genes in Staphylococcus spp strains isolated from meat and dairy products. Evidence for new variants of seG and seI in S. aureus AB-8802. J. Appl. Microbiol., 97, 719-30.

Karatzas, A.K.; Kets, E.P.W.; Smid, E.J.; Bennik, M.H.J. (2001).The combined action of carvacrol and high hydrostatic pressure on Listeria monocytogenes Scott A. J. Appl. Microbiol., 90, 463-469. 

Govindarajan M;   Kadaikunnan S;   Alharbi NS;  Benelli G Acute toxicity and repellent activity of the Origanum scabrum Boiss. & Heldr. (Lamiaceae) essential oil against four mosquito vectors of public health importance and its biosafety on non-target aquatic organisms. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Nov;23(22):23228-23238. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

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