What is Oregano?
Oregano is an easy-to-grow herb with many health-promoting properties. It is an aromatic herb, belonging to the mint family. It prefers a warm, dry climate with plenty of sunlight. It is a perennial that does well in containers- you can even grow it in a small pot on a kitchen windowsill! If kept in the garden, one plant will quickly spread and provide more than enough for one family. If you purchase fresh oregano- keep it wrapped in wet paper towels in the refrigerator or cover it in water and freeze it in ice cube trays. Oregano is more than just a culinary herb- it is a powerful medicinal plant! Below are the many uses and benefits of oregano. Some of them might surprise you!
Culinary Benefits of Oregano
Aromatic oregano is most often used as a flavor enhancer for soups, stews or other dishes, but this herb has many other lesser knows qualities that make it a powerful source of nutrition and healing qualities.
Did you know?
- Oregano is a rich source of vitamin K, which is an important player in cardiovascular and bone health as well being needed for proper blood clotting.
- Oregano is full of minerals such as iron and manganese.
- Oregano is full of fiber- just one tablespoon gives you over 10% of the daily value- and you know how important fiber is!
- Oregano is full of antioxidants such as thymol and rosmarinic acid. In fact some studies have shown that it contains even more antioxidants than other antioxidant rich foods- as much as 4 times more than the amount in blueberries!
Medicinal Uses for Oregano
Many of the benefits gained by eating and using oregano in your daily meals will benefit your health as well. A healthy diet full of nutrient rich foods is one of the best medicines you can give yourself, but in addition to those I have already listed, oregano also has purely medicinal uses, such as being an antibacterial, a natural anti-inflammatory and an anti-fungal. While the fresh, or dried, herb can be used to gather some of these benefits, oil of oregano is one of the best ways to get concentrated amounts of the health-promoting properties of oregano. If you don’t grow your own oregano you can buy it in bulk through the Bulk Herb Store.
How to Use:
- Combine oregano with other beneficial herbs such as sage, thyme and lavender in a pot of boiling water and use as a facial steam to loosen congestion and calm a cough.
- Take a few drops of oil of oregano– diluted in juice or water- internally to combat intestinal disturbances such as giardia or food-borne diseases such as e. coli or salmonella.
- Take internally to help reduce the length and intensity of the common cold or flu.
- Rub oregano oil mixed with olive oil (or other carrier oil) on sore muscles and joints for pain relief and to aid in reducing inflammation.
- Place drops of diluted oregano oil on your neck, temples and forehead to help reduce the pain of headaches and migraines. Smelling full strength oil of oregano is also helpful in easing head pain.
- Diluted oregano oil can be effective in removing warts
- You can make oregano infused oil by steeping oregano leaves in oil such as olive or coconut. This is not the same thing as an essential oil. If you would like to make your own infused oil you can find directions at More Than Mundane or Homegrown and Healthy.
- If you purchase concentrated oil of oregano be sure to dilute it before placing it on your skin or ingesting it. The oil is too potent to be used as is.
- Oregano can cause adverse reactions in some people. Test a small patch of skin before using the oil topically. Fresh eating can cause stomach discomfort in some people.
- If you are pregnant or nursing talk to your caregiver before taking oregano in medicinal amounts.
- If you are taking other medications, talk to you doctor before taking oregano medicinally. This is especially true if you are taking a blood thinner (oregano has naturally occurring blood thinning properties) or medications such as Lithium.
- I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.
© 2013 – 2017, Sarah R Toney. All rights reserved.