It has been used in medicine and cooking for thousands of years.
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Here are some key points about oregano. More detail is in the main article.
- Oregano is a Mediterranean herb that is used for cooking and medicinal purposes, ranging from treating infections to repelling insects.
- Active ingredients in oregano could one day help treat osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.
- Use it to flavor sauces, make herby bread rolls, and in marinades for meat.
- People with an allergy to mint should take care when consuming oregano.
Oregano is available fresh, or dried for cooking, and oregano oil can be used to treat infections.
Oregano was used in herbal medicine as long ago as the Ancient Greeks.
Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic.
Possible medicinal uses of oregano include treating respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.
1) Antibacterial properties
Oregano oil contains an essential compound called carvacrol, which has antimicrobial properties.
The herb has shown antimicrobial activity in a number of studies. One group of researchers foundthat Origanum vulgare essential oils were effective against 41 strains of the food pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties
Scientists from Germany and Switzerland identified an active ingredient in oregano, known as beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), which may help treat disorders such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. E-BCP is a dietary cannabinoid.
3) Protecting against cancer
Research published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2013 suggested that oregano exhibits anticancer activity. The scientists concluded that Origanum majorana could help prevent and treat breast cancer by slowing or preventing its progression.
In 2014, food scientists discovered that the popular culinary herbs oregano, rosemary, and marjoram contain compounds that may have the potential to manage type 2 diabetes in a similar way to some currently prescribed drugs.
Other possible health benefits
According to The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, oregano can be used for the following illnesses and conditions:
- cold sores
- muscle pain
- heart conditions
- intestinal parasites
- sore throat
- repelling insects
- menstrual cramps
Oregano essential oil, made from Origanum vulgare or Thymus capitatus, may help with the following problems:
- Foot or nail fungus: Put a few drops in water and soak the feet in it, or apply diluted oil topically to the affected area.
- Sinus infections and colds: Use a few drops in a steam bath and inhale.
Any essential oil should be diluted before use, either with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, or in water, as for a steam bath.
More research is needed to confirm oregano’s effectiveness as a treatment.