Oregano is a fragrant shrub that is frequently used in Italian cookery. Essential oil extraction allows for a potent concentration of antioxidants and other chemicals with demonstrated health benefits.
The extract is called oregano oil, and while it is not as potent as the essential oil, it shows promise as a dietary supplement and topical skin treatment. On the other hand, essential oils aren’t supposed to be ingested.
Oregano oil has a number of potential health benefits, including its use as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent, as well as its potential to aid in weight loss and reduce cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, oregano essential oil is unlikely to produce many of the severe side effects that are usually ascribed to the high use of antibiotics, such as an increased risk for antibiotic resistance, poor gut health owing to eliminating good probiotic bacteria, impaired nutrient absorption, and leaky gut syndrome due to damage to the gastrointestinal tract’s lining.
However, oregano oil’s uses are not limited to fighting bacteria. What else is treated with oregano essential oil?
Oregano oil is commonly used to treat a wide variety of diseases, including:
- Fungal infections of the foot or nail, commonly known as “athlete’s foot,”
- The Typical Cold
- Pain in the ear or the tooth
- Digestive issues including small intestine bacterial overgrowth and heartburn (SIBO)
What Is Oregano Oil?
Oregano, scientifically known as “Origanum vulgare,” is a herb that belongs to the mint family (Labiatae). For almost two thousand five hundred years, it has been regarded as a rare plant item in traditional remedies from all over the world.
It has been used for centuries by traditional healers to alleviate symptoms of the common cold, gastrointestinal distress, and nausea.
While you may be familiar with using dried oregano leaves in recipes (in the form of oregano spice, one of the most potent medicinal herbs), essential oregano oil is not the same.
The active ingredients in medicinal grade oregano, which can be found in the Mediterranean, many parts of Europe, and South and Central Asia, are concentrated in the essential oil that is extracted from the herb through distillation. One pound of oregano essential oil requires more than a thousand pounds of wild oregano.
Essential oils, which contain the oil’s active constituents, are used both externally (on the skin) and inwardly.
The oil oregano is a common name for oregano in its medical supplement or essential oil forms. Oregano oil, as was previously noted, is often used as a non-pharmaceutical substitute for conventional antibiotics.
Carvacrol and thymol, two potent chemicals found in the oil of oregano, have been shown in scientific research to have potent antibacterial and antifungal activities.
While carvacrol makes up the bulk of oregano oil, studies suggest that the plant’s leaves also contain phenols, triterpenes, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid, and oleanolic acid, all of which have antioxidant properties.
What are the Benefits of Oregano Oil
For what purposes might oregano oil be used? Oregano oil’s main active ingredient, carvacrol, has multiple applications beyond just treating allergies and protecting the skin. According to a report from Italy’s University of Messina’s School of Pharmacy:
“Carvacrol, a monoterpenic phenol, has emerged for its wide spectrum activity extended to food spoilage or pathogenic fungi, yeast and bacteria as well as human, animal and plant pathogenic microorganisms including drug-resistant and biofilm forming microorganisms.”
Oregano essential oil contains a compound called carcavol, which is so effective that it has been the subject of more than 800 studies cited in PubMed, the preeminent database of scientific evidence. Just to give you an idea of how versatile and impressive carvacrol is, it has been found in tests to help reverse or reduce the severity of the following common health problems:
- Microbial infections
- Fungal infections
- Viruses and parasites
- muscle pain
- difficulty swallowing
The top health advantages of oregano oil include:
Help lower cholesterol
Researchers discovered that oregano oil has remarkable cholesterol-lowering properties.
Forty-eight persons were found to have mildly high cholesterol, and they were all given dietary and lifestyle recommendations to assist them to lower their levels. Each meal was followed with 0.85 ounces (25 mL) of distilled oregano in water given to 32 individuals.
After 3 months, individuals who were given the oregano distillate had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and greater levels of HDL (good) cholesterol compared to those who were merely given dietary and lifestyle recommendations (PubMed.gov).
The active ingredient in oregano oil, carvacrol, has been found to reduce cholesterol levels in rats fed a high-fat diet for 10 weeks.
Mice fed both a high-fat diet and carvacrol for 10 weeks showed significantly lower cholesterol levels than mice fed only the high-fat diet.
It is believed that the phenols carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil are responsible for their cholesterol-lowering effects.
A Natural Substitute for Antibiotics
What exactly is the issue with using antibiotics on a regular basis? In addition to the harmful bacteria that cause infections, broad-spectrum antibiotics can wipe out the beneficial bacteria that keep us healthy.
An excellent piece warning of the risks of antibiotic overuse was published in the Wall Street Journal in 2013. Author writes that “Recent studies have shown that doctors are overprescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics, sometimes called the big guns, that kill a wide swath of both good and bad bacteria in the body.”
When antibiotics are overused or when doctors prescribe broad-spectrum medications when they aren’t actually needed, it can lead to a number of complications. In addition to promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant infections, which compromises the effectiveness of these drugs, overuse of antibiotics can also destroy the beneficial bacteria in your body (probiotics) that aid in digestion, vitamin production, and infection prevention, among other things.
Unfortunately, broad-spectrum antibiotics are routinely administered, even when they are useless against infections caused by viruses. Sixty percent of the time, doctors prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics, according to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy by researchers from the University of Utah and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For similar reasons, a study of children published in Pediatrics indicated that when antibiotics were recommended, they were more often than not of the broad-spectrum variety.
But what exactly does oil of oregano do to help you? To put it simply, using oregano oil is a “broad-spectrum approach” to health protection.
Its active components are effective against a wide variety of microbial infections. Oregano oils “represent an inexpensive source of natural antibacterial substances that exhibited potential for use in pathogenic systems,” according to a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
Used in the Treatment of Athlete’s Foot
Mycelia of T. rubrum and conidia of T. mentagrophytes, two bacterial strains usually responsible for the fungal illness known as athlete’s foot, were found to be inhibited by a combination of heat, salt, and the use of essential oils (including oregano) in a single research.
The researchers came to the conclusion that using salt, aromatic oils, and thermotherapy in a foot bath to treat tinea pedis would be promising. Oregano oil was shown to be the most effective of 11 essential oils tested for its fungicidal activity against the germs that cause athlete’s foot (followed by thyme, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and clove).
Beneficial in the Treatment of Inflammatory Conditions (such as IBD or Rheumatism)
Oregano’s powerful antioxidant potential is not diminished whether it is fresh or dried. Oregano essential oil has been demonstrated to have anti-aging, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic effects because of its high concentration of antioxidants and its ability to scavenge free radicals.
Cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and medication toxicity are only a few of the frequent chronic ailments thought to be exacerbated by free radicals.
In mice with colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel illness), researchers found that treating them with a combination of thyme and oregano essential oils decreased the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Oregano oil has shown positive results in other studies for treating chronic respiratory problems, tumor development, and rheumatoid arthritis. Oil extracted from Origanum vulgare “presents antibacterial, antioxidant, and chemopreventive properties and could play a significant role as bioprotector agent,” according to research from Argentina’s Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
Could aid with pain relief
The analgesic effects of oregano oil have been studied.
In an older study using mice, the effectiveness of various pain relievers and essential oils, including oregano oil, was compared.
It was shown that oregano essential oil greatly decreased pain in mice, having effects comparable to those of fenoprofen and morphine, two of the most widely prescribed painkillers.
According to the study, the oregano’s carvacrol content was probably responsible for these outcomes.
An analogous study also discovered that oregano extract alleviated pain in rats, with the degree of relief increasing in proportion to the amount of extract given to the animals.
Beneficial in Parasite Treatment
In people with enteric parasites (including Blastocystis hominis, which causes gastrointestinal distress), supplementing with 600 milligrams of oregano daily for six weeks resulted in considerable reductions in gastrointestinal symptoms, according to single research.
Entamoeba hartmanni (4 instances), Endolimax nana (1 case), and Blastocystis hominis (8 cases) were all reported to have vanished entirely by the research team. Seven of the eleven patients who tested positive for Blastocystis hominis, which can produce gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort, saw an improvement in their symptoms.
Reduces the negative effects of medications and/or drugs
One of the most promising oregano oil benefits, according to a number of recent research, is its ability to lessen the negative effects of pharmaceuticals. Results from these studies offer encouragement to those seeking relief from the excruciating pain often associated with chemotherapy and other invasive medical procedures, as well as the use of medications to treat long-term illnesses like arthritis.
Oil of oregano phenols have been found to protect mice from methotrexate toxicity, according to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.
Methotrexate (MTX) is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis, but it is also well-known to cause serious adverse effects. Researchers found that oil of oregano was effective in preventing these factors, and they attribute this to the herb’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Oregano was found to be more effective than medications that don’t offer complete protection against the negative effects of MTX.
This is the first time that the pro-inflammatory response in MTX-treated animals has been shown to be reduced by carvacrol, as measured by a number of markers in the sciatic nerve. Since this possible health advantage of oregano is so novel, it is probable that other studies will be conducted to verify these results.
Similarly, Dutch studies found that oregano essential oil helps “prevent bacterial overgrowth and colonization in the large intestine during oral iron therapy.” Oral iron therapy, which is used to treat iron deficiency anemia, is associated with a host of GI problems, such as sickness, bowel irregularity, acid reflux, and vomiting.
Carvacrol appears to deplete pathogenic bacteria by targeting their outer membrane and increasing membrane permeability. Carvacrol has antibacterial qualities and also interferes with some routes for bacterial iron management, which can help reduce iron therapy’s negative side effects.
Oregano Oil: How to Use it
Capsules and tablets containing oregano oil extract can be easily purchased online. You can find it in any health food store or on any health food website.
The recommended dosage of oregano supplements should be found on the product’s label, as the potency of different brands varies.
In addition, you can purchase oregano essential oil, which, when combined with carrier oil, can be used topically. Ingesting any kind of essential oil is not recommended.
Oregano essential oil has no established, recommended dosage. However, it is commonly applied topically after being combined with around 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of olive oil per drop of oregano essential oil.
Essential oils, including oregano oil, should never be ingested.
In the event that you are already taking prescription medications and would like to add oregano oil extract to your regimen, please check with your doctor first.
Additionally, oregano oil extract is typically not advised for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
The Final Word
Both the oregano oil extract and the oregano essential oil can be purchased for low prices and can be found in most grocery stores.
Oregano contains a high concentration of potent chemicals called phenols, making it a superior source of antioxidants compared to most other fruits and vegetables.
Oregano contains chemicals that have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-pain potential.
Several potential health advantages have been identified, suggesting its potential as a natural remedy for a variety of common health issues.
Cautionary note: In all of the above cases please consult a practicing specialist & get checked before taking any medicines or therapy.
Disclaimer: This article is only written for informational purposes only. Users must not view the content as medical advice in any way. Users are also required to ’NOT SELF-MEDICATE’ and always consult a practicing specialist before taking any medicines or undergoing any treatment. DivyaAyushCare and the author will not be responsible for any act or omission by the User arising from the User’s interpretation of the content.