Most of the oregano oil benefits can be tied to its antibacterial & anti-fungal properties.
Oregano has throughout the history mainly been used as a culinary herb. Its suitability to give flavor to a wide range of dishes has made it a popular ingredient in cuisines around the globe. Oregano supposedly has its origin in the Mediterranean countries, where it is still one of the most commonly used herbs. Another way to benefit from this plant’s unique properties, however, is by using it for health- and medical purposes.
Consuming oregano-based soup is a common way of treating a cold. It can take care of issues such as coughing and sore throats, but the benefits don’t stop here. Even rheumatic patients and patients with other, more serious, conditions have claimed to notice a difference in their well-being when consuming oregano on a regular basis. The herb’s antibacterial and anti-fungal properties can also serve as a remedy or relief for other health-related issues such as:
- food poisoning
- urinary problems
- skin problems
- E. coli bacteria
It also happens to be a rich source of antioxidants – and we all know why we need those, right? Oregano can be used both internally and externally, and therefore has an incredibly large area of use.
A great way for us to benefit from the positive properties oregano has to offer is by using its extracted essential oil. The oil is extracted through steam distillation and is most commonly used externally, but may also be ingested in small amounts. When used externally, it is typically diluted with an additional oil such as almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil and directly applied to the problem area. When used internally, a small amount (sometimes diluted with water) is ingested. A third area of use lies within the field of aromatherapy. Heating up the oil and letting it fill the air around you can provide relief of headaches and colds as well as promote relaxation and tranquility. In this case, the oregano oil is transferred to our system by inhalation.
Most of the health beneficial properties of oregano can be tied to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Oregano is traditionally used as a preservative in food, which proves this point even further. And as if the ability to kill bacteria wasn’t enough, oregano contains a whole bunch of other healthy tidbits. How about vitamin E, vitamin K, antioxidants, manganese, omega fatty acids, calcium, iron, tryptophan and fiber?
So when should oregano oil be used externally and when should it be ingested?
If you suffer from skin conditions such as acne, dandruff, blisters, athlete’s foot, rosacea, warts and psoriasis; oregano can give you some relief, or in many cases even a cure. These conditions are all examples of when external application is the preferred method.
However, if you suffer from one of the following conditions, you may want to consider ingesting a small amount of the oil by drinking or inhaling it:
- Food poisoning
- Respiratory tract disorders (coughing, asthma, bronchitis etc.)
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Menstrual cramps
- Urinary tract disorders
- Heart conditions
- Intestinal parasites
- Cold or flu
- Ear conditions
The list of the benefits of oregano is long, and we could go on even further. It isn’t difficult to see why health enthusiasts have been excited about this alternative home remedy for a while now. The hype is definitely a fact, especially in times of colds and flus. But are there any negative side effects or other things we need to know about this super-herb?
First of all, the number of conditions that oregano oil may supposedly cure points out the fact that extensive research is needed on the subject. The medical and health-beneficial use of the herb is still relatively new, and there simply have not been enough studies to prove that it is helpful in every single condition listed above. On the plus side, there have been enough studies to indicate that there are generally no serious side effects when used properly. People with sensitive stomachs may experience some trouble when using oregano oil internally, and if you are allergic to plants from the Lameaceae family (basil, lavender, mint etc.), you may want to be careful not to develop an allergic reaction to oregano. Besides that, it seems as if it is quite safe to experiment with oregano oil – if you use it in the right way and the right amounts, that is.