The oregano plant (Origanum vulgare), a member of the mint family, is not merely a great seasoning for many an Italian dish. It’s also famed for its healing properties.
Recently, I treated an inflamed tooth with drops of oregano oil. Although quite bitter, I found the taste tolerable, especially when it started working to help reduce the painful infection, giving me time to book a dental appointment. Experts caution against taking essential oils by mouth so I spit out as much fluid as possible and avoided swallowing it.
Essential oils concentrate a plant’s medicinal compounds to deliver a powerful dose. It’s important to handle these products with care to avoid unwanted side effects such as skin or eye irritation.
I heard about oil of oregano from Alex Jones who was advertising for his news network’s InfoWars online store. It seemed like a good idea to stock up on a few bottles to treat respiratory infections by making a diluted nasal spray, should the need arise.
To tell the truth, I had forgotten about this prepper’s stash until my aching jaw reminded me to ferret it out of the deepest recesses of the bathroom closet. It was worth the effort.
The plant compounds in oregano have an antioxidant effect, fighting toxic free radicals to relieve the immune system and make it more resilient to disease-bearing pathogens. Oregano also has antimicrobial properties – it kills germs.
- Concentrated oregano oil contains:
- Carvacrol – the principal active compound, a type of antioxidant called a phenol
Thymol – thought to help protect against toxins and fight fungal infections (named for thyme, the plant where it is most abundant)
Oregano oil has many health benefits, including:
Kills bacteria. Research has shown that oregano oil can wipe out a staph infection (Staphylococcus). The overgrowth of bacteria that cause small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and gastrointestinal issues was reduced by a combination of carvacrol and thymol.
Kills fungi. The high levels of thymol in oregano oil have been shown in test tube studies to be an effective herbal remedy for common Candida fungal infections.
Reduces oxidative stress. As mentioned before, the antioxidants in oregano oil may reduce the risk of increased DNA damage and cell death. Oxidation contributes to other health conditions such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, and certain cancers.
Fights inflammation. Oregano oil also has anti-inflammatory effects due to its carvacrol content.
Heals wounds. When applied in a diluted form directly to a small cut or scrape, the carvacrol and thymol are thought to help ward off infection during healing.
Repels insects. The active compounds in oregano oil have been shown to keep away ticks and mosquitos when diluted and applied topically.
Fights cancer. Laboratory animal and test tube studies suggest that essential oil from oregano helps prevent some types of colon cancer and breast cancer. The essential oil also seemed to inhibit the growth of some lung cancer and prostate cancer cells.
Essential oils are extracted from their source by steam distillation. Suspended over boiling water, the steam pulls the oils of the plants. The vapor is siphoned off into a cooling vessel where it separates into oil and water. As we know, these two substances don’t mix. The oil is collected as an essential oil – it came straight from the source plant. (The water is popularly used for aromatherapy.)
Make sure the oil you get is pure and unadulterated. Be suspicious of any oil that isn’t packaged in an amber or dark-colored glass bottle. Clear glass bottles allow light to oxidize the oil. Plastic is a huge warning to avoid this product since essential oils can dissolve plastic. No reputable manufacturer would use clear or plastic containers for essential oils.
Another tip is to look at the product label for “product of [country]” rather than “bottled in [country]” to ensure that you are getting the genuine goods. Australian oils are preferred by those in the know because the Aussies have been manufacturing essential oils for a long time and tighter quality controls and independent laboratory testing.
Beware of products made in China, a country notorious for its low food production standards and criminal quality checks tainted by bribes and corruption.
Although this may seem obvious, never buy a product whose label fails to include the words “essential oil.” For example, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil are low-quality hybrids and very likely to contain little or no therapeutic value.
Speaking of which, the marketing term “therapeutic grade” is a complete fiction – although it is used by many popular companies on their product labeling, the phrase is completely meaningless.
In closing, let me repeat that essential oils are powerful concentrations of beneficial herbs that, by and large, have not been fully evaluated by the mainstream medical community. Use these products with care and keep out of the reach of unsupervised children.
Also, please note that I am not a doctor or a trained healthcare professional. I shared my personal experience with you, Dear Readers, as merely that. Always perform your own research before using any product that may cause unintended side effects.
That said, adding herbs such as oregano to your regular diet is a great way to provide gentle, ongoing nourishment to your whole body.