The health benefits of Oregano Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emenagogue and anti-allergenic substance.
The disinfectant and antibacterial properties of oregano essential oil were first recognized in ancient Greece where they were often used for treating bacterial infections on the skin or in wounds, and it was also employed to protect food from bacteria. It is a plant native to higher altitudes and normally grows in the mountains, which is how it got the name “Oregano”, which means “Delight of the Mountains”.
The Essential Oil of Oregano is extracted through steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves, which bear the scientific name Oreganum Vulgare. Its chief components are Carvacrol, Thymol, Cymene, Caryophyllene, Pinene, Bisabolene, Linalool, Borneol, Geranyl Acetate, Linalyl Acetate and Terpinene.
Along with being respected for its antimicrobial properties, this oil has many other medicinal properties as well. These properties are explained in detail below. It is traditionally used in one of three ways, either aromatically, which is the most popular since the advent of aromatherapy’s widespread use in recent decades. You can also apply it topically onto the skin, or through a carrier oil like coconut oil. Finally, you can ingest it in very small quantities as a dietary supplement, usually when diluted in honey or some other non-dairy beverage.
Health Benefits of Oregano Essential Oil
Antiviral: Oregano essential oil provides protection against viral infections. This means that it strengthens your immunity against colds, mumps, measles, pox and other problems created by viruses.This boost to the immune system also helps to defend against deadly viral infections and even certain autoimmune disorders. Oregano essential oil stimulates the production and function of white blood cells, the body’s main line of defense.
Antibacterial: Just as it protects you against viral infections, oregano oil protects you against bacterial infections as well. This gives you an added level of protection against most bacterial diseases, such as infections in the colon and urinary tract, as well as typhoid, cholera, sores, skin infections and temporary problems like food poisoning. Also, the antibacterial effects of oregano don’t have an inhibitory affect on the healthy, necessary flora in your intestines and stomach, so you don’t suffer from the ill effects of being undefended!
Antifungal: Viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa are the four agents which are responsible for communicable and infectious diseases. Out of these, fungi are responsible for some of the most dreaded and fatal infections, both internal and external. They can cause ugly, painful, and even deadly infections in the ear, nose and throat, which, if not treated early, may reach the brain and prove fatal. Many skin infections are also caused by these fungi. Oregano Oil, if used regularly, either internally or externally, can effectively protect the body against many of these fungal infections.
Antioxidant: This property turns out to be one of the most celebrated attributes of oregano essential oil, because it protects you from the damages done to the body by free radicals (oxidants), and it neutralizes the free radicals, while repairing the damage already done. This slows down the aging process and protects against certain cancers, macular degeneration, degeneration of muscle due to aging, wrinkles, loss of vision and hearing, nervous disorders and many such ailments related to premature aging and the effects of free radicals. More specifically, oregano essential oil contains phenols, a powerful form of antioxidant that literally scours the body and eliminates those free radicals that cause disease.
Anti-inflammatory: This oil is good on soothing many types of inflammation, internal or external, caused by a variety of reasons. When this oil is applied topically, it can reduce redness and irritation to the applied area, and it can relieve topical pain that might be associated with arthritis or injury. When consumed, it has much the same effect, although it is spread throughout the body, so will not necessarily relieve pain and discomfort as quickly.
Antiparasitic: Many types of parasites, such as round worms, tape worms, lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas, can live inside or outside the human body. These parasites use the human body as a source of food, and as a vessel or carrier of communicable diseases. Oregano Essential Oil, when ingested, can eliminate intestinal worms, and when it is applied externally, it effectively keeps away lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas, so it is not uncommon to find oregano essential oil as a component of organic bug sprays and repellents.
Anti-allergenic: This is another side of the sedative and anti-inflammatory properties of Oregano Essential Oil. Allergies are hyper-reactions of the body towards external stimuli. Oregano Oil, being sedative in nature, calms down this hyper-sensitivity and is known to give relief from allergy symptoms. From its anti-inflammatory quality, the severity of an allergic reaction can be reduced, which is especially important for serious allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock, or swelling of the throat.
Digestive: Oregano essential oil promotes digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices, and it also increases nutrient digestibility and enzymes which aid in absorbing food. This can improve your general level of health by maximizing the nutrients you get from food!
Emenagogue: This oil is also beneficial for regulating menstruation and delaying the onset of menopause. Those who are suffering from obstructed menses may also find relief from using oregano essential oil. As an emenagogue, a woman can reduce her symptoms of oncoming menopause, including mood balance and hormonal shifts because of the hormonal regulation quality of oregano essential oil.
Respiratory Conditions: Oregano essential oil can act as an expectorant, which will loosen up or help eliminate the uncomfortable buildups of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tracts and sinuses, but it is also a soothing balm for inflamed lungs and the throat, which often stimulate coughing fits. Therefore, oregano essential both prevents and treat symptoms of respiratory ailments.
Other Benefits: Oregano essential oil has been shown to help heal Psoriasis, Eczema, Athlete’s foot, flu and other infectious ailments. Furthermore, it can be used to treat bacterial infections like E. Coli, Giardiasis and food poisoning. It relieves congestion, and certain studies reveal that it is as powerful a painkiller as the most respected options on the market, with the added benefit that it works without the strong side effects.
A Few Words of Caution: Oregano essential oil can cause irritation of the skin and mucus membrane if taken in high concentrations or dosages. Pregnant women should avoid using it, and it is a good idea to consult with your doctor before adding it in any significant way to your diet. Due to its general stimulation and regulation of the hormones, it can potentially result in a miscarriage if the hormone to induce periods is stimulated. Also, like with any new dietary supplement or food, check with your doctor about allergies. People that are allergic to basil, lavender, marjoram, mint, or sage are also commonly allergic to oregano and its essential oil.
Blending: The Essential Oil of Oregano blends well with the essential oils of Lavender, Rosemary, Bergamot, Chamomile, Cypress, Cedar Wood, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus. These combinations are often made and widely used by aromatherapists and herbalists.