8 Benefits & Uses of Oregano Essential Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Oregano essential oil has many health benefits that include the treatment of parasitic and fungal infections, strengthening the immune system, and improving digestion.

The benefits of oregano essential oil can be attributed to its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties. It also acts as an emmenagogue.

What is Oregano Oil?

Oregano oil is a highly beneficial essential oil extracted from oregano leaves. Oregano is a plant native to higher altitudes and normally grows in the mountains, which is how it is named “oregano”, meaning “delight of the mountains”. While oregano is famed as a spice, oregano essential oil is a concentrated form that is widely sought after for natural remedies.

The disinfectant and antibacterial properties of oregano essential oil were first recognized in ancient Greece where it was often used for treating bacterial infections on the skin or wounds. It was also used to protect food from bacteria. The essential oil of oregano is extracted through steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves, which bear the scientific name Origanum vulgare. Its chief components are carvacrol, thymol, cymene, caryophyllene, pinene, bisabolene, linalool, borneol, geranyl acetate, linalyl acetate, and terpinene.

Watch Video: 12 Amazing Benefits Of Oregano Essential Oil

12 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Oregano Essential Oil | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Oregano Essential Oil

Along with being respected for its antimicrobial properties, this oil has many medicinal properties as well. Let’s take a look at the oregano oil benefits and uses below.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

A study published in 2010 has revealed that oregano essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe many types of inflammation, internal or external, caused by a variety of reasons.

How to use: When it is applied topically, it can reduce redness and irritation onto the applied area and also help in relieving pain associated with arthritis or injury. When consumed through pills, it has much of the same effect, although it is spread throughout the body, so it will not necessarily relieve pain and discomfort as quickly.

Prevents Skin & Other Infections

According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, oregano essential oil protects you against bacterial infections.

Research led by Dr. Harry Preuss, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, also suggests that oregano oil has antimicrobial properties that help prevent Staphylococcus aureus infection.

Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa are the four agents that are responsible for communicable and infectious diseases. Out of these, fungi are responsible for some of the most dreadful and fatal infections, both internal and external. They can cause ugly, painful, and deadly infections in the ear, nose, and throat, which, if not treated early, may reach the brain and become lethal.

Many skin infections are also caused by these fungi. It is known to help heal psoriasis, eczema, athlete’s foot, flu, and other infectious ailments.

How to use: Oregano oil, if used regularly, either internally or externally, can effectively protect the body against many of these fungal infections. It can also be used on grains to protect them from fungi.

Antiviral Properties

According to a 2011 study, Mexican oregano essential oil has antiviral properties that protect against viral infections. This means that it strengthens your immunity against cold, mumps, measles, pox, and other problems caused by viruses. This boost to the immune system helps to defend against deadly viral infections and even autoimmune disorders. Oregano essential oil also stimulates the production and function of white blood cells, the body’s main line of defense.

How to use: If you are using oregano essential oil for a viral infection, make sure to use it with some other carrier oil or with hot water. It is important to note that you do not ingest this oil directly. You can also take oregano oil pills for cold and cough.

Antiparasitic Properties

Many types of parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas 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.

According to research by Dr. Mark Force and his team, oregano oil can inhibit the growth of harmful parasites in the gut. It also helps in lowering your risk of gastrointestinal diseases and a leaky gut.

How to use: Oregano essential oil, when ingested along with a carrier oil, can eliminate intestinal worms, and when applied externally, it effectively keeps away lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas. Hence, it is not uncommon to find oregano essential oil as a component of organic bug sprays and repellents.

A bottle of oregano oil with oregano leaves on a wooden table

Oregano essential oil may help to improve gut health. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Improves Gut Health

According to a study published in 2010, oregano essential oil has the ability to promote digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices. It also increases the nutrient digestibility and enzymes which aid in absorbing food. This can improve your health by maximizing the nutrients you get from food! It also helps in treating bacterial infections like E. coli, giardiasis, and food poisoning.

How to use: You can try taking oregano oil pills if you’re dealing with digestive issues, but please refer to your health care professional before making any additions or changes to your diet.

Treats Respiratory Conditions

This essential oil can act as an expectorant, which loosens up or helps eliminate the uncomfortable buildup of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tracts and sinuses. It is also a soothing balm for inflamed lungs and throat, which may often stimulate coughing fits. Therefore, oregano essential oil prevents and slows the progressive symptoms of certain respiratory ailments.

How to use: You can topically apply oregano oil on your chest in case of difficulty breathing or other respiratory ailments. Do consult a medical professional before consuming it.

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, a sedative by nature, calms down this hyper-sensitivity and is known to give relief from allergy symptoms. Through its anti-inflammatory quality, the severity of allergies can be reduced, which is important for reactions like anaphylactic shocks or swelling in the throat.

How to Use Oregano Essential Oil?

You can use oil of oregano in different ways that include the following:

Topical application: It is used in many ways, like in aromatherapy which provides many health benefits and has been the most popular use for decades.

  • It can be applied topically for irritation on the skin with a carrier oil like coconut oil for improving your skin quality and wound healing.
  • You can topically apply oregano oil for skin irritation and in the space near wounds, as it can speed up the healing.
  • You can put oregano oil under your eyes and over wrinkles as well.

Note: Dilute the oil before applying topically. You can dilute it 1:1 with olive oil or coconut oil.

Consumption: You can ingest oregano essential oil in very small quantities as a dietary supplement, usually diluted with honey or other non-dairy beverages.

  • Sublingual consumption (dropping the oil beneath the tongue)
  • You can also consume oregano oil as an additive

Supplemental form: You can find oregano essential oil capsules or pills in health food stores or online. The strength of these capsules may vary so make sure to check the label before buying and using. Speak to a professional who can recommend the optimum quantity for you.

Where to Buy?

You can buy oregano oil from any place where essential oils are sold, as well as major stores and big-box chains. It is relatively easy to prepare by yourself, although it takes a few weeks. Look out for it at natural health practitioners and herbalists, as well as stores like Walmart and GNC.

Blending: The essential oil of oregano blends well with the essential oils of lavender, rosemary, bergamot, chamomile, cypress, cedarwood, tea tree, and eucalyptus. These combinations are often made and widely used by aromatherapists and herbalists.

Side Effects

  • Oregano oil can irritate the skin and mucous membranes if taken in high concentration or dosages
  • Pregnant women should avoid using it and should consult with a doctor before adding it in any significant way to the diet
  • Like with any new dietary supplement or food, check with your doctor about allergies. People allergic to basil, lavender, marjoram, mint, or sage are also commonly allergic to oregano and its essential oil
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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