For centuries Greeks and Romans decorated brides and grooms with a crown of oregano as a symbol of happiness as it means "mountain of joy." Today, it is used so frequently in our kitchen; but oregano is a hidden gem of therapeutic health. Oregano is filled with vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. Additionally, it contains potent phytochemicals, the chemical responsible for giving vegetables and fruits their color and scent. For human, phytochemicals provides potential health benefits by aiding DNA repair, reduces damage to cells and has been linked to preventing diseases from cancer to Parkinson's.
Value of Oregano
Abundance in Antioxidants
One active agent in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant that may support immune system health. Oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, with 42 times the antioxidant punch of apples.
Antifungal & Antibacterial
Two phytochemicals in oregano, carvacol and thymol, are powerful antimicrobials that may kill food-borne pathogen and the superbug MRSA.
Oregano is rich inomega-3 fatty acids, the good type of cholesterol. Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids help to rebalance your cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Heart attacks and strokes have shown signs of reduction.
Oregano inhibits inflammation with beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), a substance that supports the body's natural response to irritation or injury. This leads into deeper research that it may also be beneficial for more threatening conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.
Sweat Out Your Cold
Oregano oil can be very useful if you come down with a cold or the flu because it encourages sweat production as a mode of detox. Ingesting it may help your body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in your lungs and a spray form can contribute to immediate relief of upper respiratory infections.
Cool, Calm and Carvacrol
Carvacrol is a chemical found in a number of plants; but it is most abundant in oregano. It may not be commonly known to most, but in the medical field it is showing a lot of potential. No matter the type of cancer, preliminary research shows that carvacrol assists cancer cell death. Carvacrol is also proven to be to be very effective natural remedy for Candida in mouth and digestive track, ability to balance blood sugar levels and reduces redness and swelling from injury or irritation. Cavrvacrol has even been tested against chlorine for washing produce. It proved to be more efficient and did not affect the nutritional value, antioxidants or taste.
A Power House in the Home
Try adding oregano oil to your salad dressings, vegetables, or eggs, for starters. Beyond this, one of the best uses for oregano in your cooking is adding it to meat prior to cooking, which may help reduce the toxic compounds created during the cooking process. "Try combining cloves, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, ginger. black pepper, paprika, & garlic powder and rub them onto the meat before you quickly sear it, or add them to your marinade."*
In addition to its culinary uses, oregano oil may be useful for fighting off many types of infections, making it a useful home remedy for:
- Respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Yeast infections
- Parasitic infections
- Food-borne illness.
- Topically for athlete's foot or nail fungus: Soak feet in a basin of water with a few teaspoons of oil, or rubbing the diluted oil (1 drop of oil in a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil) on your nails/skin.
- To treat sinus infections or colds: Put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water. Carefully inhale the steam, being careful not to get burned.
- Under your tongue to help treat infections or parasites. Dilute the oil (1 drop of oil with 1 drop of a carrier oil) and place one or two diluted drops under your tongue. Hold it for a few minutes, then rinse your mouth with water. Repeat up to four times a day.
There is a large quality difference in oil of oregano products currently on the market. Most products do not contain pure oil of oregano. They are instead a combination of oregano oil with a diluted "carrier" oil such as olive or flax. Look for oregano oil of that is naturally extracted, organic, and has a carvacrol percentage from 50-85%.
Oregano oil is also NOT advisable for infants, children, and pregnant or nursing.
* Dr. Mercola. www.mercola.com.