Lakshmi Menon is a published author who writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is also a travel enthusiast.
What is Oregano?
The botanical term of the oregano herb is Origanum Vulgare. In Greek, it means joy of the mountains. It is also known as Wild Marjoram. Oregano plant is a small herb and that grows about 2 feet tall, and has a strong and pungent aroma. The oregano flowers bloom in pink and purple colors. Each flower produces four small structures. Oregano is a perennial herb, and grows wild on mountainsides of Greece and other Mediterranean countries, and is cultivated all over the world.
In India it is found in temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim. In Hindi it is known as Sathra, Mirzanjosh, in Malayalam Kattumaruva, in Punjabi and Urdu it is called Mirzanjosha.
This herb can be easily cultivated at home in pots or in fields.
Oregano is used for culinary purpose for adding flavor to the food as well as for treating a number of illnesses, from ancient time. Oregano leaves and flowers are used, and also an oil is produced from this herb. Fresh leaves and dried leaves are used for medicinal purpose. It is very easy to grow this highly useful herb in every house, which becomes handy when needed. They will easily grow in pots and also in large containers. It even grows without any fertilizer.
The ancient Greeks were among the first people to identify Oregano oil for its health advantage and therapeutic qualities. Hippocrates in ancient times used oregano for curing various diseases like respiratory diseases and stomach pain. Moreover, Paracelsus in the 15th century used Wild Oregano to treat psoriasis, diarrhoea, jaundice, vomiting, and fungal diseases. In around 3000 B.C., the Babylonians described it as a cure for lung and cardiac disease.
William Langham, in Garden of Health (1633), described an even wider range of uses, his list including such diverse conditions as bladder trouble, bleeding, heart failure, head pain, itchy skin, mouth pain, freckles or spots on the skin, stomachache, intestinal worms, and toothache. Thus, it has always been relied upon as an emergency medicine.
Herbalists claim that oregano is nature’s most powerful antibiotic. As an effective herbal remedy, oregano was clinically proven to kill bad bacteria which the strongest prescribed antibiotic cannot eliminate. Oregano comes in the form of oil or capsules. This can be taken orally or mixed with grapefruit juice.
Another important aspect of oregano is that it does not kill the white flakes but rather promotes their growth and kills the black weeds.
Culinary Uses of Oregano Herb
Oregano leaves are widely used in Turkish, Palestinian, Syrian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, Latin American, and Italian cuisine. Dried oregano leaves are more used for flavoring purpose.
Oregano herb is used in meat, sausages, salads, dressings, stews and soups. In food industry, oregano oil and oleoresin are used in food and beverages. Oregano oil is used in alcoholic beverages and in baked goods.
Oregano leaves are popularly used in pizza, and hence it is fondly called "pizza herb."
Oregano Health Benefits:
This amazing oregano plant is highly effective in viral, bacterial and fungal diseases and is a gift of nature to mankind. God created nature so herbal remedies came from God. -
- Treating fevers, chest congestion, sinus problems, bronchitis, asthma, cold and flu. Take a cup of water and boil it. Add one teaspoon juice of oregano leaves (leaves and flowers may be) to the boiling water, then cover it for 10 minutes to release all the properties and drink this concoction sweetened with honey, if needed. Diabetic patients should avoid using honey.
- Fungal infections. It is used by adding oregano to meals, drinking tea and using both the fluid infusion such as oil of oregano.
- When you have an upset stomach, or indigestion, try oregano leaves. The high content of thymol and carvacrol in oregano can help calm upset stomachs and aid digestion. Mix 2 to 3 drops of oil to a glass of juice, milk or water for a quick remedy for mild indigestion.
- Many girls suffer with painful menstruation. If you haven't tried the simple remedy with oregano concoction.
- Insomnia (sleeplessness) is a problem for many. Instead of popping up the sleeping pills, try with oregano.
- Herbalists claim oregano is useful for respiratory problems and sore throat, too. Gargle 3 or 4 times a day with just warm infusions of oregano.
- Oregano also contains anti-allergic properties. Oregano is useful for treating bacterial skin infections, psoriasis, and a condition called Eczema.
- Suffering with chronic pain and migraine? Tried all other medicines and still no relief? Try oregano herb.
- For food poisoning, try with oregano plant first before starting with serious medicines.
- Oregano is used in insect bites, as a poultice.( A poultice , also called cataplasm , is a soft moist mass, often heated and medicated, that is spread on cloth over the skin to treat an aching, inflamed, or painful part of the body.)
- Oregano is popular as a natural painkiller. Since oregano has anti-inflammatory properties, it is also used in relieving rheumatism, carpal tunnel, sports injuries and arthritis. Poultices and massage with oil of oregano are effectively used for these conditions.
- Oregnao concoction is useful for toothache. From oral application of oregano oil, teeth and gums get benefitted greatly. It can destroy the bacteria that form plaque and cause gum disease.
- If taken regularly, oregano treats sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory illnesses or allergies.
Uses of Oregano Oil :
Oregano oil is known to be a potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic oil that can reduce pain and inflammation and effectively fight off several types of infections.
However, it is recommended that one has consult an herbal or medical practitioner before taking oregano oil, to be sure of dosage, duration, and potential side effects. Oregano oil is available in liquid, capsules and tablets.
While buying Oregano oil, make sure that the oil is derived from Origanum Vulgare, and that the carvacrol concentration is at least 70%.
Side Effects of Oregano
Though there are countless benefits for this herb, some side effects are also reported.
- Oregano oil may reduce the body's ability to absorb iron. Therefore, it is recommended that any regular use be combined with regular consumption of iron supplements. For this reason, women are advised not to take Oil of Oregano during their pregnancy.
- People that have allergies to thyme, basil, mint, or sage may be sensitive to Oil of Oregano as well, since they are in the same family of plants. If any skin irritation, rashes, or vomiting occurs when using it, it is recommended that you discontinue use and consult your doctor.
- Pregnant women should also avoid oil of oregano since it can stimulate blood flow in the uterus, which can weaken the lining that surrounds the fetus in the womb.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies.
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princess janine colobong on June 28, 2014:
oregano is really a good herbal medicine it cure many of illness and we can use this in culinary cooking
Anandita from Korea on November 23, 2012:
Based on my database, oregano has rosmarinic acid, a compound with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and of course, antioxidant properties.
Jennifer Arnett from California on May 24, 2012:
I didn't know it had so many uses. That's cool that it kills bacteria. I always put it on my pizza because it tastes good.
lex123 (author) on March 16, 2012:
Glad to know that you use oregano in 97% of your cooking! Great! Thanks for this comment.
Chris Achilleos on March 16, 2012:
Once again, very useful and interesting information lex. I love oregano, I use it in 97% of my cooking :)
lex123 (author) on October 13, 2010:
Thank you ewhiskey50 for visiting this hub, and I'm glad to know it is helpful to you. God Bless.
ewhiskey50 from New York on October 13, 2010:
Good information, I will use for the future. Thanks God Bless
lex123 (author) on October 09, 2010:
Thank you franciaonline for visiting this hub and encouraging me with valuable comment. I'm glad to know it is helpful to you.
franciaonline from Philippines on October 09, 2010:
What a helpful hub! I'm printing this for myself and others.