Last Modified on Jul 23, 2014
Most commonly known as an aromatic food flavoring and preservative, oregano is also an effective health treatment. With a name stemming from Greek, meaning “mountain of joy,” oregano obviously has a notable history of use. With a potent aroma and pungent flavor, oregano also offers a variety of health benefits.
What is Oregano?
Oregano can be described as a warm, aromatic spice with a slightly bitter flavor. The herb is considered a member of the mint family that contains a pungency with the ability to numb the tongue when it is of good quality. Typically grown in a warm, dry climate, oregano is a somewhat woody herb.
The herb contains a number of important natural chemicals that give it its pungent smell, flavor, and medicinal effects. Oregano contains such chemicals as thymol, pinene, limonene, carvacrol, ocimene, and caryophyllene.
All parts of the herb can be used in treating various health conditions. The oil of the oregano has arisen as a more common treatment today and is typically used externally. In any case, however, the herb is effective for treating a vast array of conditions.
Health Benefits of Oregano
Oregano and oregano oil possess specific qualities that situate the two substances as effective health aids. The herb contains two primary components – thymol and carvacrol – that present the herb’s main health benefits.
The herb’s innate chemicals present specific advantages as health treatments. Oregano is considered a rich source of fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega 3 fats, manganese, tryptophan, and vitamin K. As such, oregano and oregano oil and considered among the most potent antioxidants and antibacterial agents available today. The treatments can be used to facilitate a number of different conditions.
Oregano is often used for treating respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal issues, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract infections. The herb is also an effective skin treatment that can be used to alleviate such conditions as acne and dandruff. The herb is also an effective treatment for the common cold, eczema, fever, fungus, herpes, and a number of other conditions.
With antiparasitic, antifungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, oregano is capable of treating a wide range of health conditions.
08/17/2009: Liz from Boulder, Co: "I have just starting taking Oregano oil everyday, so I don't know if it is working yet but I am hoping for the best. I heard about it through my stepfather he lives by the stuff (for everything). My brother also takes if to boost his immune system. He has been taking it everyday for the last 4 years and hasn't gotten sick. Therefore, I think is is safe to take on a daily base. I take 4 drops of it in the morning and 4 drops at night. I also rub it on the base of my spine since that is where the virus lives and the oil will seep in through the skin."Replies
02/18/2014: Marsha from Denver replies: "The best is Wild Oil of Oregano (Mediterranean only; not less than 75% Carvacrol). However, be aware it kills good gut bacteria, the reason it's great for helping cure candida. Take a good probiotic to stop the bad bacteria and replenish the good.
My large intestine has suffered tremendously due to 2 surgeries, a colonoscopy and antibodies (plus years of prescription drugs to treat ear and yeast infections), resulted in abcesses and excruciating IBS systems. Research is showing when the good gut bacteria is compromised from meds, sugar, stress, etc., the gut suffers.
If anyone has candida symptoms or any intestinal discomfort, read Healing Your Gut by Jini Thompson. The cleaning from the colonoscopy left me with little good bacteria and the days following the procedure, I was on my knees in pain with terrible bloating, ICV not opening/closing properly and intestinal blockage. Two months later I'm finally able to leave the house.
See a good naturopath or homeopathic practitioner if need be."
[WARNING!] 01/21/2009: Edna from Solomon, Kansas, USA: "I wanted to add a note concerning the addition of a drop or two of Oil of Oregano during the OP. You'll want to make sure that you get ORGANIC oil, and not only that, but make sure it is labeled as "Oil of WILD OREGANO! What sells under the label "Oil of Oregano" or "Oregano Oil" is really Marjoram, and does NOT possess the wonderful, natural, anti-biotic properties of Oil of Wild Oregano. Don't let 'em fool ya!
It is oil from a specific wild plant (not the same plant known in Spain as "oregano" and used in cooking) that grows on the hillsides of the Mediterranean region which is the real deal. It is the most powerful anti-biotic agent in nature.
I wouldn't have known the difference if someone hadn't once told me, so I wanted to pay it forward. Thank you for the opportunity.
Loving this site! :0)
05/02/2013: Oreganooiluser from Chino, Ca replies: "Fyi, it is not necessarily true that if a product is labeled "Oregano Oil" and not "Oil of Oregano" it is actually marjoram. For instance, Sprouts carries a product labeled "Oregano Oil" on the front but on the back it specifies that the product is "Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil (Origanum vulgare)" and is "standardized to 70% Carvacrol. " Origanum vulgare is different from marjoram, which is actually Origanum majorana. So I think some products are just labeled simply as "Oregano Oil" to be more easily recognizable to the consumer? In any case, I just wanted to clear that up in case people were concerned about products they may have in their cupboards not being authentic based on the specific wording."
[YEA] 09/06/2007: Nadine from Philadelphia, USA: "I am a regular reader of earth clinic and am very grateful for all the information. I am thankful that I am able to contribute to this forum. I recently discovered Oil of Oregano (100% vegetarian). My internet search revealed that Oil of oregano was used to sterilize surgical utensils back in the 1950's and has been found to be useful in fighting infections that are resistant to penicillin. It is also said to be useful in treating sinus infections, bladder infections, candida and lung infections."
[YEA] 08/03/2009: Ted from Long Beach, Ca: "I picked up a Staph infection from a friend who had slept on my sofa. After, 7 days-I got 3 skin eruptions on my inner thigh and starting feeling sick. After seeing a doctor-he wanted to put me on a string of antibiotics. Antiobiotics usualy leaves me with a yeast infection or thrush. After having such bad experiences with antibiotics, I went and got oil of Oregano for about 20.00 I used 4 drops in water and 1 drop under my tongue, Within 2 hours-my energy came back and I started to feel better. After 5 days-I can no longer tell that there was anything wrong with me, in the first place. I used oil of Oregano before when eating out because most restaurants are very dirty and full of workers that carry bacteria, so it has always worked for food poisioning but it also worked for staph and the boils that appear as a sympton of this infection."
[YEA] 07/04/2007: DeAnn from Lubbock, TX: "I considered myself a healthy 54 until december of 06, when I got a cut on my figure that woudl not heal. After finally healing I got the first of three boils on the buttock area. Two of which had to be lanced in the hospital. of course the Dr. prescribed cipro, lixapro, etc, you name it. When the third one appeared I used oil of oregano on a round band aid for a week change it often and it went away. I am currently taking oil of oregano in pill form everyday and drinking green tea and doing the apple cider vinegar with water and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. I have been boil free. I should also mention that when I had to have the first boil lanced, the Dr. mention I was the third person that day that he had done the same procedure."
[YEA] 10/21/2007: Marinette from Cleveland, USA: "Last Winter I came down with a terrible cold that might have been pneumonia, as a lot of this was going around. I could barely get any rest at night because of the constant coughing, and I went through boxes of Klennex blowing my nose and sneezing. Also, I usually can get rid of a cold or flu with herbal teas, but nothing made a dent in this. I tried raw garlic but it seemed to do nothing. After trying for a week everything that usually works on a cold right away, I started taking Oregano Oil and Oregano capsules. I took 2 drops of the oil 3 times a day and 3 of the herbal capsules 3 times a day. The Oregano herbal capsules also have dried garlic and onion powder in them and something called Rhus Coriaria. After taking this for a day or two LOTS of bright orange mucus came out of my sinuses and lungs. It still took a few more days after that to feel completely well, but each day I was finally getting better, not just staying the same or getting worse. You might not want to post the name of the book I found this information in, but it is called "The Cure Is In the Cupboard" by Dr. Cass Ingram. I mention this because Oregano Oil is an essential oil and should not be taken in large amounts. People should really read about it before taking it, and there is a lot of inferior Oregano oil on the market. Also, it is used for many different ailments because it kills fungus, bacteria and viruses and different ailments require different dosages. I found that the best way to take it, at least for me, is to put one drop on my finger, lick it off and have a glass of water standing by. Then I take two big drinks of the water. This oil is HOT! I would not recommend waiting around holding it in your mouth to test just how hot it truly is."
[YEA] 09/21/2007: Melissa from San Diego, CA: "I was suffering from a very bad cold/flu, specifically horrible sinus pressure and chest tightness and coughing, and clogged ears. I love ACV, Cayenne pepper, and hydrogen peroxide for many things, but none of these provided any releif for this. I also tried Grapefruit Seed Extract, sea salt, and borax to try to kill the virus. The last thing I tried was Oregano Oil. I used one drop sublingually and put a few more drops in water and felt immediate relief from the cough/chest tightness and sinus pressure as I was able to expectorate all the mucous. I think all the remedies listed for colds, sore throats, coughts etc. have merit but apparently different people require different remedies. So keep trying until you find the one that works for you. I was starting to get discouraged that I couldn't find any relief from natural remedies and figured I would have to succumb to cough syrup and sudafed. I'm glad I tried one last thing."
[YEA] 12/08/2008: Craig from Edmonton, AB, Canada: "I use Oil of Oregano for cold sores, the second I feel that tingle i put a drop or two on the area that is tingleing and repeat a few times through out the day for about 2-4 days, it never blisters and breaks out, in fact its quickly regressed and dissapears within those days. I have been doing this for over a year and usually get cold sores about 4 times a year, and its worked every time..."
[YEA] 09/24/2011: Joyce from Dallas, TX: "Hi everyone, I SWEAR BY THIS METHOD... Six years ago I came to Earth Clinic looking for a cure for my recurring Sinus infections that constantly left me with a feeling of phlegm being trapped at the back of my throat... I read a posting from someone and this was the remedy he posted on Earth Clinic... It has worked for me for the past 6 years and I do not have that phlegm or recurring sinuses anymore! Here is the remedy:
1. Go to Kroger, buy a nasal spray, empty nasal spray bottle and clean it out with water and soap.
2. Add a little water to nasal spray bottle
3. Add a little pinch of sea salt to water in bottle
4. Add a half capful of Oregano Juice
5. Stick nasal spray in nostril and inhale it, while you spray at the same time. Breathe in hard so that it reaches the Sinus or Nasal Cavity, where all the congestion is. (This is going to burn and your eyes will water, your nose will run instantly so get some tissue to wipe your nose and eyes! )
If it burns too much then it might be too strong. Try putting less Oregano Juice or add more water. You also don't want it to be too weak! The Burning is good, it works and it really burns the infection or bugs, whatever! I have used this for the past 6 years, I have told all my friends about it. I use it on my daughter whenever she comes down with a sinus infection... No more doctors office, no more antibiotics!
Also if it is a serious sinus infection that develops into a Bronchial or chest infection, then chopped up Garlic cloves in a glass of water will help clear up the Bronchial Phlegm or Garlic capsules, which will be less potent. But you will also need to take the oregano spray to take care of the Nasal congestion... In addition, if there is a suspected Ear infection or Drainage as well, you will need to put Hydrogen Peroxide drops in the ear and that will address the ears... All these things, to address the infected and congested Ears, Nose and Throat or Chest! If it gets that far..."
[YEA] 11/06/2007: Robert from Honolulu, Hawaii: "Oil of Oregano and Bronchitis. My chest was stuffed up for a couple of years. Don't like to go to the doctors. I heard about Oil of Oregano. I was taking two drops under my tongue twice a day for about two weeks. Within two days I could not believe the differance. I can breathe freely again without coughing. This was about two months ago. I also stopped smoking after 35 years 3 weeks ago and I cannot tell you the improvement in my health.
Last year I started to get boils about three to four a month. Started to take turmeric (capsul form)it took care of the boils. I've been taking one capsul every day since and not had any outbreaks until I take a break for a few days from all supplements, vitamins and the turmeric. I then feel a boil coming on and resume my regimine and feel fine after a couple of days."
[YEA] 03/07/2007: Ahmad from Calgary, Canada: "I would like to enlighten you with one of my ancient arabic cures for the common cold and a congestion in the chest in nasals. Oregano is the cure. You take water and boil it then you add some organic oregano to the boiling water and inhale the steam for as long as it stings and then you drink the water with honey. I give it my double money back guarantee (as long as the oregano is a natural strong scented one and not commercially produced)."
03/30/2009: Rob from Manhattan, New York: "also, I have coated my floss with it & seem to get positive results. Just put a couple drops on the index & thumb finger and run the floss through it. Again, diluted with olive oil, as full strength burns the lips."
[YEA] 03/08/2009: Nanci from Berwick, PA. USA: "I have been using oil of oregano for over a year. I put a drop on my finger and apply it to a tooth that was starting to abcess. I had to put it on about five times a day but in two days the pain was gone and never got as bad as the one that had to be pulled. I would get it in a healthfood store to make sure it is safe for digesting. I'm not sure if essential oils for inhaling are the same. *oreganol* is the brand I have
I start to put a drop on my finger and apply it to the glands under your ear by your neck. One or two drops per side. Then I put a drop on my finger and put it under my arm pit because there are glands there also. I do this about five or more times a day. I have been able to ward off a cold completely when everyone else has it. I didn't have any because I lent it to someone and I went a few days with out using this. I got very sick and was in bed for five days. when I got it back I used it and two days later was up. I think I should have used it longer and I didn't. Now I got it back. I guess because the cold got a start here, now it is going to be hard to get rid of it. Now I made a cup of hot water, 1/2 a large garlic diced, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of ACV and the juice of a Lime. I am loosening up already. Oh and the acv cured the hot flashes I had."
[YEA] 02/19/2009: Fran Block from Pittsburgh, PA. USA: "Oil of Oregano is by far the number 1 remedy for tooth pain. I suffered from pain after having a crown put in. I was scheduled to go back to the dentist for a procedure to have the crown drilled to remove nerve endings to put a stop to the pain. Well, I bought a bottle of Oil of Oregano that had 70% carvacrol, brand name Solaray. I put a few drops on a cotton ball and placed it on the bad tooth and just bit down. It was kept there for about 15 minutes but, just after about 1 minute I could feel instant relief. Oregano oil worked for all my friends that had a tooth problem too! Oregano oil is NOT the herb in your kitchen cupboard, so don't make that mistake. It also works for other problems too and I always have a bottle in the house. No ands, ifs, or buts about it oregano oil will kill the pain almost immediately! Oh, I never had to go back to have anything done with my crown."
[YEA] 02/15/2009: Tabby from San Francisco, California: "I'm returning to Earth Clinic to share what Oil of Oregano has done for my family in the past 6 months! I also want to give thanks to God :)
I had a cracked tooth start hurting, extremely sensitive to cold. I knew it was infected, and it throbbed almost constantly. I began apply oil of oregano diluted in cold pressed olive oil to the gum two - three times daily. This immediately took down the pain each time I applied it. By the end of the week the pain was completely gone, giving me time to get to a dentist.
My husband caught a cold this winter, and after a week of it came down with bronchitis. He refused to try my Oil of Oregano! Stubborn guy that he can be ;) But after two weeks of coughing he relented one night and I started him off on 2 drops under the tongue three times daily. Within 24 hours he reported "feeling better overall with more energy". Within two weeks his cough was completely gone, then we stopped the regimen.
I began feeling a sore throat coming on. My daughter had one as well. I took one little drop of Oil of Oregano and put it in some water and had her drink it before bedtime. I took mine straight, I like the taste. I held 3 drops under the tongue for a bit, then began swishing it in the mouth and swallowed. After one more time of this, sore throat totally gone.
I have a compromised immune system and I'm extremely grateful and impressed by how well the Oil of Oregano has helped me and my family. It's nice to go to my cabinet instead of the doctor."