Last Updated June 24th, 2019
Oil of oregano: What is it?
Oregano is a herbal plant from the mint group. The scientific name for Oregano is Origanum Vulgare. There are 40 different varieties of Oregano plants. All the types of Oregano plant are not used for their medicinal properties and especially only Origanum Vulgare is used for their medicinal use.
It is widely used for medicinal as well as culinary uses such as pizza toppings, etc. Oregano oil is produced from the leaves of the Oregano plant and is more powerful than the natural form, which has been used in the medicinal field to treat cold and flu symptoms. It has abundant antioxidants.
It contains several compounds which are useful in many ways. Some of the important compounds include carvacrol (useful for antibacterial properties), thymol (useful for antifungal properties), rosmarinic acid (useful as an antioxidant), terpenes (useful for antibacterial properties), Linalool (promotes soothing effect), naringin (helpful to reduce the growth of cancer cells), and beta-caryophyllin (useful for anti-inflammatory properties).
It is used to treat multiple diseases and includes cold and flu symptoms, asthma, bronchitis, stomach disorders, heartburn, etc. It is also used to treat menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. It is useful to kill parasites and is ingested by mouth to kill any parasites present in the stomach.
It is useful in treating skin problems such as acne, athlete’s foot, warts, dandruff, ringworm, etc. It can also be used as an insect repellent due to the pungent aroma of the oil. In ancient times, couples were garlanded with Oregano leaves in Greece on the occasion of their wedding.
What are the uses of this oil?
With a weak immune system, there are high chances of developing oxidative stress, which increases the number of free radicals present in the body. In severe cases, these free radicals can even cause malignancy. Generally, with a weaker immune system, people tend to fall ill often, which directly affects their daily lifestyle. Oregano oil contains several compounds that are known for their antioxidant effect, antibacterial effect, as well as antifungal effect. Generally, Oregano oil is diluted with other oils such as Olive oil or coconut oil and consumed to promote a healthy immune system.
Relieves Cold and Flu symptoms
Generally, people get affected by cold and flu symptoms such as a cough and difficulty breathing, etc. People may also be affected by bronchitis symptoms where a person is not able to bring out the mucus and leads to breathing problems. One of the main culprits responsible for this problem is identified as Staphylococcus aureus.
Staphylococcus aureus is considered to be one of the most prevalent pathogens affecting the human body. This is because it is resistant to many antibiotics and has the ability to multiply at a faster rate. Oregano oil is helpful in treating such issues because of the presence of compounds such as carvacrol and thymol that are effective to fight Staphylococcus aureus pathogens.
The anti-inflammatory effect of Oregano oil is also helpful in decongesting the bronchus as well as the sinuses. Oregano oil is diluted in hot water and the steam is inhaled to get instant relief from congestion. A diluted version of Oregano oil in combination with either Olive oil or coconut oil can also be consumed sublingually which is placed under the tongue to get relief.
Treats Ear Infections
Ear infections are common among children, which is caused due to the middle ear infection as well as blocking of Eustachian tube. Ear infections can be caused because of many factors including allergy symptoms, inflammation of the ear tube, etc. Ear infections cause severe pain and inflammation of the ear and may even ooze out pus-like material. Oregano oil is effective in relieving the pain associated with ear infections when used externally around the ear.
Oregano oil in combination with coconut oil should be massaged around the ear, which the skin would absorb and relieve the pressure and pain associated with ear infections. Caution is advised to not place the oil inside the ear to avoid other possible problems
There are several bacteria that are powerful enough to bypass the immune system and cause infections. Doctors usually would prescribe antibiotics to fight these bacteria, but the problem is even the good bacteria end up getting killed by these antibiotics. This can affect the overall health of a person and may cause several side effects associated with it. Studies have indicated that regular use of antibiotic drugs can be harmful to the body and may lose the effectiveness of treating the disease.
Oregano oil is helpful in managing these bacteria. It can be considered as a natural antibiotic, which is capable of fighting powerful bacteria, but hardly cause any side effects. Studies have proven that the use of Oregano oil not only kills bacteria but also is helpful in fighting fungal infections as well as viral infections.
Treats Candida Infections
Fungal infections affect many parts of the body including the web space of toes, groins, underneath the breast, etc. One of the main causes of a fungal infection is because of the abnormal overgrowth of the Candida fungus, which is already present in the body.
There are instances where fungal infection symptoms can be experienced with the use of antibiotics. Candida fungus generally multiples at the damp and moist areas, where there is minimal exposure to the sunlight. Oregano oil is effective in treating these fungal infections since it contains a compound called thymol, which is known for its antifungal properties. Studies have reported that Oregano oil is much effective than many antifungal agents, as well as much safer compared to the chemicals available in antifungal agents.
Oregano oil is generally diluted with either coconut oil or jojoba oil and can be applied topically on fungal infections on the skin.
Helps with Digestion
The essential nutrients are gained only when the food is digested. This process is very important to provide the essential nutrients and energy for the body to function properly. It is estimated that the brain consumes around 80% of the energy produced, so it is very important to feed the brain with adequate energy it requires.
Oregano oil is helpful in this process because of the presence of a compound called thymol, which is known to reduce the symptoms of GERD. This is achieved by providing a soothing effect on the digestive tract and avoiding heartburn. Oregano oil is compared to the antibacterial medications and can be as effective as them with minimal to no side effects.
Helpful with MRSA and Staph infections
MRSA and Staph infections are the most prevalent pathogens affecting the human body. They are considered to be the species that are resistant to more antibiotics than others. Due to the different forms of these species, they easily bypass the immune system and affect the body quite often. Oregano oil is effective in treating these pathogens without causing any side effects. Oregano oil when diluted with other carrier oil can be applied to the MRSA and staph infections twice daily and generally, benefits can be experienced within 10 days of application.
There are different types of allergies affecting the human body such as food allergy, environmental allergy, etc. Generally, the immune system is activated when the body is affected by any foreign body, which results in an allergic reaction. Pollen allergy is one such allergy which affects many people. Allergies related to mold are also quite common which leads to inflammation in the airway tract.
Due to this reason, it becomes difficult to breathe through the airways. Oregano oil contains compounds such as carvacrol (useful for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties) and rosmarinic acid (useful as an antioxidant) which are effective in reducing the effects of allergens. They help in reducing the inflammation caused by the allergens in the airways. Oregano oil is generally diluted in hot water and the steam is inhaled to gain immediate relief.
Warts are the external growth on the skin, which is caused by the infection of Human Papillomavirus. Generally, warts are painless, but a particular type of wart called plantar wart can be quite painful, which occurs on the bottom of the feet. Warts are known to even spread from one part of the body to another and it is important to treat them at the earliest. Oregano oil is helpful in treating different types of warts by killing the Human Papillomavirus present in warts.
Oregano oil is mixed with neem oil and the mixture is applied to warts and later they are covered with a bandage to avoid oxygen supply to warts, which subsequently leads to the eradication of the Human Papillomavirus and the warts are naturally healed.
Effective in Treating Herpes infections
Herpes is a viral pathogen which is divided into two groups namely herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2. These types of herpes affect different parts of the body. Herpes simplex virus 1 generally causes cold sores on the lips whereas herpes simplex virus 2 affects the genitals. Studies have indicated that Oregano oil in combination with neem oil is effective in eradicating the herpes simplex virus.
Oregano oil is effective in entering the cell membrane of the herpes simplex virus and delivering the antibiotics into the cells of the herpes simplex virus, which is effective in the treatment of herpes simplex virus.
Relieves Arthritis and Muscle Pain
Pain, swelling, joint stiffness, as well as inability to ambulate are some of the symptoms of arthritis. There are many factors affecting the occurrence of arthritis such as low absorption of calcium, abnormal diet, failure to lead an active lifestyle, etc. Muscle pain can be caused due to the overuse of muscles during exercise as well as other reasons.
Oregano oil is effective in relieving the pain and inflammation due to the presence of certain compounds. Oregano oil is applied topically on the affected joints and muscles and the oil is absorbed into the body and directly acts on the inflamed muscle and joints by reducing the amount of pressure and inflammation.
Helps with Menstrual Problems
Menstrual problems are referred to as the abnormal cycles of menstruation, excessive bleeding, as well as stomach cramps and mood swings. There are several factors affecting normal menstruation and may vary from person to person.
Oregano oil is effective in regulating the menstrual cycle and promoting adequate menstrual flow. Studies have indicated that it is helpful in avoiding early menopause by balancing the hormones effectively. It can be taken by mouth or by applying to the lower abdomen to get relief from painful periods. Caution is advised as it is known to induce contractions when consumed during pregnancy.
Used as a Mouthwash
Mouthwash is generally used to avoid bad breath by removing the harmful bacteria present in the mouth. Thymol is the compound that is present in many mouthwash brands which are known to kill the harmful bacteria. Oregano oil is a rich source of thymol and hence can be used as a mouthwash when it is diluted in water. It can also be added to the toothpaste we use to promote the antibacterial effects.
Effective Insect Repellent
Insect repellents are products used as a repellent against mosquito and other insects. There are several insect repellents available in the market, but these insect repellents are known to contain a compound called DEET which is contradicted to affect the nervous system. There is no clear evidence that DEET can harm the nervous system, but it is always safe to avoid such products.
Oregano oil turns out to be the best alternative for insect repellents due to their pungent aroma and the presence of various compounds that are helpful to kill insects. It can be diluted in lime essential oil and used to kill cockroach and ants. It can be combined with peppermint oil and water to use as a mosquito repellent.
Are there any side-effects?
Oregano oil is considered to be an essential oil, which means it is a more powerful form than what we get naturally from Oregano plant. Essential oils tend to cause side effects and one of the most common side effects is an allergic reaction. People who are allergic to essential oils are advised to conduct a patch test before adding Oregano oil as a supplement. People who are allergic may experience skin irritation when applied topically. It may irritate the mucous membranes in the mouth when taken orally. It should always be diluted with another oil or water to reduce the concentration, which makes them completely safe to either consume orally or apply topically on the skin.
Note: It is important to note that Oregano oil should be kept away from any pet animals as it may cause severe health problems as well as even be life-threatening. Due to the difference in the metabolism of humans and animals, the essential oil cannot be digested by the animals and may cause liver damage, kidney failure, etc. It is known to cause contractions and is strictly advised to avoid this product during pregnancy. There are even instances where Oregano oil is known to cause a reduction of blood sugar, so it is essential to monitor the levels appropriately in patients with diabetes. It may also cause easy bruising and hence should be avoided by people suffering from bleeding disorders.
Is oregano oil right for you?
Oregano oil has powerful antioxidants and compounds. The antioxidants present in this oil are much higher than what we get in fruits and vegetables. The oil seems to be effective in treating various health issues such as inflammation, pain, bacterial infections, as well as fungal infections. The oil is cheap and easily available as a liquid and capsule. This makes it much easier to add to our daily routine. Since the oil is highly concentrated, it is advised to dilute it with a carrier oil for topical applications. Overall, it is one of the supplements which you would not regret adding to your diet.
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