Benefits of Oregano Oil For Cold And Flu

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Oregano oil is one of the best natural remedies if your immune system is under attack by a cold virus, the flu, respiratory infections, or any other illnesses. This is due to its expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. Beyond that, oregano oil treats both the symptoms and the underlying infections.

What is Oregano Oil?

Oregano oil is distilled from the dried leaves of the oregano plant, the most common variety of which is known as Origanum vulgare. Native to the Mediterranean region, oregano oil has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and is now widely available. It is dark yellow in color and has a very strong aroma, which is why some people choose to use it in culinary applications. However, as a therapeutic oil, oregano oil can be topically applied, sublingually used, consumed orally or inhaled, all of which can deliver an impressive list of benefits. [1]

These healthy effects of oregano oil for cold and flu can be attributed to the high levels of thymol and carvacrol, which are antioxidant phenolic compounds, as well as rosmarinic acid, various terpenes, zinc, calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C, among others.

Benefits of Oregano Oil for Cold & Flu

If it feels as though your immune system is perpetually under attack, particularly during the cold season, you should begin using oregano oil for cold and flu symptoms, as it contains various compounds that will strengthen the immune system.


The most powerful compound in oregano oil is carvacrol, and it also comes with the highest concentration in this oil. Boasting numerous antimicrobial properties, this active ingredient is the main reason why this oil is so famed for eliminating symptoms of cold and flu. In fact, carvacrol is known to break through the outer cell membrane of bacteria, allowing them to be neutralized by the body’s immune system. [2]

Vitamin C

Globally known as an immune system-booster, vitamin C is found in moderate quantities in oregano oil, where it can stimulate the production of white blood cells to counter the spread of a cold virus or bacterial infection. Vitamin C also soothes inflammation and functions as an antioxidant to relieve strain on the immune system. Finally, it is involved in collagen synthesis, which is needed to recover and heal the tissues following an extended cold or flu. [3]

A young woman with a blanket lying on a couch suffering from cold and flu

Viruses are responsible for colds and flu, so antibiotics are not able to cure or prevent these illnesses. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Using oregano oil for cold symptoms depends highly on thymol, the secondary active ingredient in this natural remedy. Thymol possesses anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, which help detoxify and cleanse your respiratory tracts. It is also known to promote healing and shield the tissues of your respiratory tracts from damage as a result of coughing. [4]

Vitamin E

Oregano oil can also be used to protect the body’s first line of defense against cold and flu – the skin. With antiseptic, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties, in addition to the antioxidant effects of vitamin E, oregano oil can help prevent cold and flu symptoms by preventing them from ever taking hold! [5]

Rosmarinic Acid

This element of oregano oil plays a number of unique roles in the healing process. From an antioxidant to an antihistamine, this volatile acid can regulate the body’s immune response and prevent excess oxidative stress, allowing your natural defenses to function more properly against cold and flu symptoms. [6]

Oregano Oil for Cold

Remedy #1

  • Mix 4-5 drops of this oil into your morning glass of orange juice, or blend it with coconut oil. This is done to dilute the flavor, as oregano oil tastes quite strong.
  • Place the coconut oil under your tongue, or drink the orange juice normally.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times per day until your cold symptoms disappear.

Remedy #2

  • Pour 5-6 drops of oregano oil into a pot of steaming water, and then inhale the vapor (while covering the head with a towel).
  • This can rapidly deliver the aromatic compounds of oregano oil to your immune system, while also clearing out your sinuses and relieving pressure.

Oregano Oil for Cough

To soothe a cough, oregano oil cuts through phlegm and mucus, reduces inflammation in the respiratory tracts, eliminates the virus or bacteria causing the cough, and stimulates healing of the tissues in the area. When the body detects a buildup of waste that needs to be expelled, coughing is one of the best methods for rapid elimination of wastes or toxins. However, coughing can also be a painful, irritating behavior for the respiratory tracts and the chest. [7]

Coughing is typically acute or chronic, the former being the result of a respiratory infection, and the latter caused by a more long-term respiratory condition, such as bronchitis or emphysema. Oregano oil can be an excellent alternative to pharmaceuticals that are so often recommended to soothe these symptoms. While antitussives and other medications can mask the need to cough and provide relief, they often fail to address the root cause. The antioxidants, antibacterial compounds, minerals and vitamins found in oregano oil help attack the underlying pathogen, while also healing damaged tissues in the throat, relieving inflammation in the chest, and cutting through any congestion to reduce pressure and discomfort.

Remedy #1

  • Add a few drops of oregano oil to your pillow at night, or rub a few drops of diluted oil (1 part of oregano oil : 3 parts of carrier oil) on your chest before you go to sleep.
  • The aromatic compounds in oregano oil can help relieve chest pressure and irritation, leaving you cough-free by the morning.

Remedy #2 

  • Mix 4-5 drops of oregano oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and drink this potent mixture 2-3 times per day.
  • This will give your immune system a continuous boost of antiviral and antibacterial compounds, while also providing soothing relief from coughing all day.

Word of Caution: There are some side effects to the use of oregano oil, including stomach upset, topical irritation, allergic reactions and complications with pregnancy. Before using oregano oil for cold and flu symptoms, speak to a doctor about any potential risks. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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