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Origanum vulgare

What is Oregano?

Oregano gained popularity in the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, where it was used for its medicinal properties. The herb has also been used for centuries as a culinary spice, famous in Italian cuisine.

Oregano essential oil is made by air-drying the leaves and shoots of the plant. Once they’re dried, the oil is extracted and concentrated by steam distillation. Oregano essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied on the skin for alleviating infections, such as fungal nail and many others. However, it is advised that it should not be consumed orally.

Oregano oil extract, can be produced via several extraction methods using compounds like carbon dioxide or alcohol. In this form it is widely available as a supplement and can often be found in pill or capsule form.

The active of oregano components include

Carvacrol: The most abundant phenol in oregano, it has been shown to stop the growth of several different types of bacteria [i].

Thymol: This natural anti-fungal can also support the immune system and protect against toxins [ii].

Rosmarinic acid: This powerful antioxidant helps protect against damage caused by free radicals [iii].

What are the suggested benefits of Oregano?

Fighting microbial infection

Oregano oil has been shown to kill microbes such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium is one of the most common causes of infection, resulting in ailments like food poisoning and skin infections. In mice, oregano oil had antimicrobial action against Staphylococcus aureus [iv]. Research has also shown that oregano essential oil may be effective against some potentially antibiotic-resistant bacteria [v] [vi].

Studies also show oregano oil to be effective against many strains of candida known to cause yeast infections in women [vii] [viii].

Oregano also displayed antimicrobial action against gut parasitic infections, and successfully reduced associated symptoms in patients [ix].

Decrease inflammation

Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage, if left unmanaged by adequate antioxidant action, plays a role in ageing and the development of some diseases, such as heart disease. Gram per gram, oregano also has 42 times the antioxidant level of apples and 4 times that of blueberries. This is thought to be mostly due to its rosmarinic acid content [x].


Evidence from clinical trials suggests oregano to have benefits in terms of cholesterol. In one study, 48 people with mildly high cholesterol were given diet and lifestyle advice to help lower their cholesterol. Thirty-two participants were also given 0.85 ounces (25 mL) of oregano oil extract after each meal. After 3 months, those given the oregano oil had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) cholesterol, compared with those who were just given diet and lifestyle advice [xi].

Pain reduction

Limited research exists in terms of oregano and its ability to reduce pain. In animal studies it is suggested the carvacrol content contributes to this effect. Oregano has been compared to standard painkillers [xv] [xvi].

Recommended For

Viral Infection , Fungal Infection , Candida , Cholesterol

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