Many people think of oregano as merely a spice for enhancing the flavor of their food, but in reality, this perennial herb, with the scientific name of Origanum vulgare, contains a wide range of amazing health benefits. Oregano is a popular herb that originates from southwest Eurasia and the Mediterranean area. For so many years, the herb has been beneficial for both culinary and traditional medical treatments. The genus of oregano is in the same family as Mentha which means the herb is actually closely related to mint and so the two share certain similar organic components and the same health benefits. Most times, oregano is confused with marjoram, a perennial herb that looks similar to oregano. But marjoram is actually sweeter than oregano and its leaves are a bit hairy with a gray-green color.
Oregano leaves are its most commonly used part, but for some unexplained reason, the flavor and aroma of the leaves are far stronger when the herb is dried than when it is fresh. However, that is not all there is to the herb—oregano is used in herbal remedies treating various health problems. While the research to support all those claims is still on-going, there are certain active ingredients in oregano that have been duly studied, and their effects on the body are considered redundant.
Oregano oil is also a highly concentrated form of oregano that is used to treat a number of health conditions, as it is very effective but it should always be diluted. As a culinary application, it is most commonly used as flavor in sauces, soups, and curries to pizza, meat dishes, salads, vegetables, and pasta.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the impressive health benefits of oregano.
The Health Benefits of Oregano
The health benefits of oregano include its ability to:
Oregano contains two essential components such as thymol and rosmarinic acid which are both powerful antioxidant compounds that can significantly lower oxidative stress in the body. We all know how free radicals can be the destructive by-products of cellular metabolism that result in cancer and other chronic health conditions. Therefore, incorporating oregano into your diet by sprinkling it on your meals can boost the immune system and protect the body against some silent killers.
Aids in Digestion
Despite being small-sized, oregano is loaded with fiber which has a major impact on the digestive system. Of course, fiber is an important element of a healthy digestive system, as it can improve bowel movement and induce peristaltic motion, which moves food via the digestive tract and passes it out efficiently. In addition to this, fiber is effective for maintaining gut health and increasing nutrient uptake, so the food you eat is more beneficial for the body. Oregano oil is also helpful in relieving congestion. To relieve congestion, simply add three drops of oregano oil in a glass of warm water and juice. You can then drink this daily for about four or five days.
Detoxifies the Body
Oregano contains a high content of calcium, manganese, iron, fiber, vitamin K, and a number of other organic compounds. These compounds make the herb effective in detoxifying the body. According to some studies, oregano helps the liver function well and speeds up the process of eliminating toxin.
Improves Heart Health
Oregano is very rich in a natural form of omega-3 fatty acids, the good type of cholesterol that supports heart health. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate cholesterol levels and minimize inflammation in the cardiovascular system, thus, helping to prevent heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and even strokes!
With regards to the immune system, oregano also contains antibacterial abilities which are due to thymol and carvacrol found in the herb. These essential organic compounds can help protect the body against certain bacteria that can affect the gut, skin, and other parts of the body. Oregano is also a mild stimulating agent, effective for increasing the production of white blood cells and improve metabolism, leading to a faster recovery of common health conditions.
Acts as a Health Tonic
When consumed, dry oregano functions as a health tonic. The herb is rich in essential oils such as thymol, pinene, carvacrol, limonene, caryophyllene, and ocimene while the leaves and flowering stems contain antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, cholagogues, diaphoretic, expectorant, and stimulant properties. It helps in the treatment of painful menstruation symptoms, indigestion, stomach upsets, common colds, fevers, and influenza.
Increases Energy Levels
Oregano improves metabolism due to the B-vitamins present in the herb and its special organic composition which rejuvenates and energizes the body. When there is an increase in blood circulation, due to the iron content and increased hemoglobin levels, it oxygenates the cells and muscles of the body, as well as boosts energy and strength.
Oregano oil works as an effective treatment for cold or a sore throat. Simply mix some drops of oregano oil into a glass of juice daily. In fact, the result will become evident within a few hours.
Good for the Hair
Oregano oil is one ingredient used in a variety of hair care products due to its mirage of medicinal and therapeutic abilities. For an itchy scalp, oregano oil is a good alternative treatment as it contains many antibacterial properties.
Improves Skin Health
Oregano oil is effective for to curing irritated gums, itches, and skin infections. However, make sure it is mixed with olive or coconut oil before applying. Oregano is beneficial for the skin as it treats acne or pimples. It comments excellent antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Oregano is commonly used in skin care products such as skin toner, face wash, and foot creams.
Boosts Bone Health
It is common knowledge that our bones begin to weaken and break down as we grow older. This is why it is important to get enough minerals and vitamins as infants. Iron, calcium, and manganese are some of the most essential minerals for boosting bone health, and oregano contains significant amounts of all of them. This makes the herb a great choice for people who intend to protect themselves against osteoporosis when they get older.
Side Effects and Precautions
While there are people who are allergic to mint and similar plants, oregano is not commonly considered an allergenic substance. In addition, the symptoms of an allergic reaction to oregano are way mild. Incorporate some oregano into your meals and testify to its amazing benefits!