Cooks rely on oregano to enhance the flavor of dishes such as pizza, pasta, tomato sauce, stew, soup, fish, and meat entrees. But did you know this Mediterranean herb, a member of the mint family, has been used for thousands of years for its powerful medicinal components and health benefits? But how do you use it that way? Read on!
Oil of oregano comes from the same plant as the familiar culinary herb, Oreganum vulgare. How it differs is that instead of using the fragrant fresh or dried herb to season food, the aromatic oils are extracted from the plant’s flowers and leaves and used medicinally. Wondering why you couldn’t just sprinkle oregano seasoning on your food for health benefits? You can! Oregano is an antioxidant that not only adds robust flavor but important nutrients to your meals. But using the highly concentrated oil is the easiest way to receive ample amounts of its medicinal properties. Due to its strong aromatic flavor, it is best to take it in capsule form.
Healing Benefits of Oregano Oil
Cavracol and thymol are two powerful components in oregano oil that fight infection and promote healing in numerous ways, especially as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal medicine.
Proficient at fighting viral invaders and inflammation, oregano oil supports immune function and makes it a highly effective remedy for ailments such as the common cold, flu, and chickenpox.
Oil of oregano is also beneficial in treating bacterial infections. In fact, many bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, strep throat, and Lyme disease can be effectively treated with oregano oil as it helps the body eliminate infectious disease, regardless of its microbe origin. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, this natural antibiotic works with your immune system to fight infection and speed the healing process.
Here are some other health benefits and ways to use oregano oil:
- For aromatherapy, add drops of oregano oil to an essential oil diffuser to alleviate symptoms associated with colds, flu, and other respiratory ailments.
- To boost immunity. Add a drop or two of oregano oil to a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut, and apply to the bottom of the feet.
- As an oral detox, referred to as oil pulling. Add a drop of oregano oil to a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil and swish inside your mouth for several minutes and then spit. Do not swallow. The oils collect the toxins, and rid the mouth of bacteria. Here’s how to do it correctly.
- To freshen breath. After brushing, add a few drops of oregano oil to a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut, and gargle and swish, then spit. Do not swallow.
- To treat foot fungus. In a medical university study in Tokyo, Japan, it was found that oregano oil was highly effective in treating foot fungus in a foot bath application. Simply soak the feet in a solution of warm water, Epsom salts, and a few drops of oregano essential oil.
- To kill ringworm, a contagious fungal infection, add a few drops of oregano oil to a dab of coconut oil and rub directly into the affected areas of the skin.
Where to buy: Oregano oil and oregano oil capsules can be purchased from health food stores and essential oil distributors, such as Penn Herb Company.
It’s wise to always check with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplement.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.