In addition to being used as a cooking spice, oregano also has powerful medicinal properties. It is an effective natural antibiotic and antifungal, and can promote digestive health and weight loss.
Oregano contains compounds called phenols and terpenoids, such as carvacrol and thymol, that have strong antioxidant properties. These antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress, which contributes to cancer.
Oregano oil’s anti-inflammatory effects help temper the free radicals that damage healthy cells and lead to chronic diseases. This is thanks to its potent cocktail of antioxidants, including carvacrol, rosmarinic acid and thymol.
These compounds also exhibit antifungal and antibacterial properties, allowing oregano oil to be used as an alternative treatment for certain infections. For instance, carvacrol was found to improve survival rates of mice infected with Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria commonly responsible for food poisoning and skin infections.
Additionally, rosmarinic acid and thymol were both found to work with antibiotics to combat resistant bacteria in preclinical studies. In addition, oregano oil’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can also reduce inflammation associated with mold exposure and common gastrointestinal issues.
The compounds thymol and carvacrol in oregano oil have antimicrobial properties against various bacteria, including some that are resistant to antibiotics. In one study, the combination of heat, salt and oregano oil inhibited the growth of mycelia and conidia that contribute to athlete’s foot infection in a petri dish .
Functional nutritionist English Goldsborough, FNTP, says she frequently recommends oregano oil for her clients battling mold exposure or sinus infections because they have strong antibacterial and antifungal effects. She also suggests it can help with gastrointestinal issues and digestive tract imbalances such as constipation.
Oregano oil contains a rich cocktail of antioxidants. These help prevent free radical damage to cells that may contribute to chronic disease. The antioxidant compounds in oregano oil, like carvacrol and thymol, have been shown to reduce oxidative stress in lab experiments.
In one animal study, oregano extract improved intestinal health and reduced oxidative stress in the colon. It also stimulated bile production to aid digestion.
Oregano oil is safe to ingest or apply topically as long as it is diluted. It should not be used during pregnancy, because it can thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding.
Immune System Boost
A poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and high stress levels can weaken your immune system. Oregano oil can boost it naturally by containing antimicrobial properties. It also inhibits the growth of several strains of bacteria and fungus.
Taking oregano oil supplements can help with digestion as it stimulates the production of digestive enzymes. One study showed that a group of adults who took oregano oil had less gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and gas.
Oregano oil can be applied to the skin or inhaled as a diffuser to treat infections and promote wellness. However, it is important to use diluted oil for skin or hair application as the concentration of thymol can be irritating.
Oregano oil is high in carvacrol, a phenol that has been shown to inhibit the growth of various bacteria that can cause digestive discomfort. This property makes it an excellent digestive aid.
Functional nutritionist English Goldsborough often recommends oregano oil to clients with gastrointestinal issues. She says the oil’s anti-inflammatory and gut-modulating effects may also help improve skin health.
Oregano oil can be applied topically, diffused or taken internally (only if it’s 100 percent therapeutic grade oil). If you choose to take it orally, use capsules. Avoid taking it undiluted, as it is toxic to humans.
Known as an anti-parasitic, oregano oil can help to eliminate worms and bugs and reduce inflammation. It is also a natural emmenagogue that can help to balance hormones in women.
It can also help to fight against ear infections. When diluted and applied directly to the ear canal, it softens ear wax and aids its natural expulsion.
The carvacrol and rosmarinic acid in oregano oil have been shown to reduce the inflammation caused by certain bacteria in lab experiments. It can also protect against oxidative stress, which can lead to diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Oregano oil can be used to treat fungus like athlete’s foot and nail fungus, but also to relieve a variety of respiratory ailments. It works as a natural antihistamine and can help soothe bronchitis, asthma and sinus infections.
Oregano’s main inhibitory compounds, carvacrol and thymol, have been shown to fight certain bacteria in lab tests, including Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella. It can also stimulate bile production and aid digestion, so it’s great for gastrointestinal issues.
Add some oregano oil to a neutral massage oil and apply to tense muscles and joints. Or, inhale directly from the bottle or a diffuser.