Oregano is not only a flavoring herb; it also has health advantages and is used as a home treatment for a variety of disorders. However, there isn’t enough scientific data to back up oregano’s medical claims. Oregano’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunity-boosting qualities are attributed to phytonutrients, particularly carvacrol.
Oregano’s phytochemicals may aid reduce cough and muscle spasms and combat infections. Some believe it is also beneficial to the intestines, as it assists digestion by increasing bile flow (a fluid produced by the liver that aids fat digestion). Oregano is high in minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, salt, potassium, and selenium), vitamins (vitamins C, K, A, and E, folate, and B vitamins), and antioxidants (lutein, zeaxanthin, thymol, and carvacrol).
The herb oregano (Origanum vulgare) is used to flavor cuisine. It’s regarded as safe in average food amounts, but there’s little proof that it’s good for your health. Oregano has purple blooms and olive-green leaves, and it is closely related to mint, thyme, marjoram, and basil, among other herbs. Oregano includes compounds that may aid with cough relief, and Oregano may also aid digestion and the fight against certain bacteria and viruses. People use oregano to treat wounds, parasite infections, and various other ailments, but there is no scientific proof to back up these claims.
Oregano Nutrition Facts
What are the Health Benefits of Oregano?
Oregano is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. For thousands of years, people have used it to flavor food and treat health problems. It is a component of the Mediterranean diet. Oregano was associated with joy and happiness by the Greeks and Romans. The name is derived from the Greek words “oros” (mountain) and “ganos” (joy). Oregano comes in a variety of varieties.
Oregano Vulgare, commonly known as Spanish thyme and wild marjoram, is the most common kind. Oregano is used in the diet as a supplement and aromatic oil. The antioxidants thymol, carvacrol, limonene, terpinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene contribute to the flavor and aroma of the herbs. They also contribute to oregano oil’s health benefits. When people eat oregano, they get a lot of different antioxidants.
Carvacrol and thymol are the two significant components of essential oregano oil, and these could be antibacterial. Carvacrol and thymol inhibited the growth of numerous strains of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria in meat and dairy products in a 2019 laboratory study, suggesting that they could help reduce bacterial growth in foods.
Conducted lab studies to study the effects of oregano oil on diverse microorganisms that do not respond to other medications amid growing concerns about diseases becoming resistant to antibiotics. Against 11 of these microorganisms, the oil demonstrated “strong antibacterial action.” This shows that compounds in oregano could help fight infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
According to one literature overview, the oils and constituents of oregano oil, such as thymol and rosmarinic acid, appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. In animal studies, oregano extract has reduced inflammation that could lead to:
- autoimmune arthritis
- allergic asthma
- rheumatoid arthritis
It’s worth mentioning that the research employed oregano extracts that were concentrated, and this is not the same as oregano being consumed by people. Another herb with anti-inflammatory effects is rosemary.
Protecting Against Cancer
Some of the ingredients in oregano may have anticancer properties. According to research, extracts may help reduce DNA damage in cells caused by oxidative stress, radiation, and mitogens, a type of protein that can trigger uncontrolled cell division. According to research, Carvacrol and thymol have also been discovered to inhibit the growth of melanoma cells and the development of skin cancer.
While oregano alone is unlikely to prevent cancer, a diversified, plant-based diet rich in antioxidants may aid in the prevention of cancer-causing cell alterations. Origanum majorana was found to help slow or stop the progression of metastatic breast cancer in lab experiments in 2013.
Oregano has compounds that may aid in the management of type 2 diabetes. According to the authors of a 2016 rodent study, Origanum extract may help:
- improve insulin resistance
- regulate the expression of genes that affect fat and carbohydrate metabolism
- restore damaged liver and kidney tissues
According to the authors, some people already use oregano leaves and oil to treat high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune illness, and experts are unsure what causes it, but oxidative stress could be a factor. Researchers discovered in 2015 that an oregano extract benefited type 1 diabetes in rats. According to the researchers, this could be related to oregano’s antioxidant capabilities, immune system effects, and potential to prevent cell death.
In 2018, researchers studied the effects of oregano oil and other drugs on rats suffering from depression caused by prolonged unexpected stress. Stress-related behavior in rats given oregano therapy improved after 14 days. The authors of the study concluded that oregano could help with stress-related behavior.
What are the Uses of Oregano?
Cholesterol levels are high. In persons with high cholesterol, clinical research showed that consuming oregano after each meal for three months can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol. Total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, on the other hand, are unaffected.
The intestines are infected with parasites. Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba Hartmann, and Endolimax nana can all be killed using oregano oil for six weeks.
How to Cook Oregano?
The leaves can be fresh or dried to impart a “Mediterranean” flavor to various meals. It tastes well with tomatoes and is frequently used in pizza and pasta sauces.
People also add it to:
- baked goods
- vegetable dishes
- legumes, such as lentils and chickpeas
- chili dishes
Here are some tips for adding it to food:
- While cooking, sprinkle meat and chicken with oregano for flavor.
- Use it in marinades or stuffings.
- Chop and mix into bread or pizza dough for a herby flavor.
- Add fresh oregano leaves to a salad.
- Sprinkle onto mozzarella cheese and tomato slices, and drizzle with olive oil.
To moderate the flavor, try the following:
- Add toward the end of the cooking process for maximum flavor.
- Chop, crush or grind the leaves to release more flavor.
- Start with a small amount and scale-up, as too much can make the food bitter.
One teaspoon of dried oregano equals one tablespoon of fresh oregano in a recipe. Oregano is available in grocery stores, both dried and fresh. They can also grow it in the garden or a pot on a ledge or balcony. It’s a perennial, which means it’ll keep growing throughout the year.
What Does Oregano Taste Like?
The flavor of oregano is robust and earthy, with a slight bitterness reminiscent of the aromatic organic component camphor. It has a delicate balance between sweet and spicy. Oregano is a herb that is more closely related to mint than basil. The flavor of oregano has been described as “pungent” and “strong,” implying a solid spicy flavor with sweet and sour.
What are the Side Effects of Oregano?
- Oregano leaf and oregano oil are probably safe to eat when taken by mouth. There isn’t enough credible data to say whether oregano can be used in amounts higher than those present in meals. Stomach trouble is one of the milder side effects.
- When it comes to applying oregano oil to the skin, there isn’t enough credible information to tell if it’s safe. When used at amounts more than 1%, it can irritate.
- Before starting any supplement, individuals should consult their doctor, especially if they are on other medications or have a medical problem.
- Avoid oregano-based products for at least two weeks before surgery to reduce the chance of bleeding.
- Before using essential oils, dilute them with a carrier oil like olive oil or water, as in a steam bath. Oregano oil should be used in a concentration of no more than 1%, or skin irritation may occur.
- Swallowing essential oils or applying them to the skin might be harmful. To avoid toxicity, people should check the proper technique to use each product.
- The ability of the body to absorb copper, iron, and zinc may be harmed by oregano, and it may also help reduce blood sugar levels.
- People who are allergic to plants in the Lamiaceae family, including oregano, basil, lavender, mint, and sage, should be cautious because oregano can trigger an allergic reaction.
Oregano is content to grow on a kitchen windowsill or in a bit of garden space. Small upside-down hanging bunches are both decorative and functional in your home, and you can snip a little off as needed. Oregano, you’re amazing! We can eat healthily and heal some of the typical problems that emerge during the winter and holiday seasons if we work together.