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7 Nov

Oregano: 10 Natural Health Benefits & Healing Uses

oreganoAs part of our fall series on the healing powers of herbs, check out this week’s focus on oregano! (And don’t miss last week’s tips for lavender.)

Oregano

10. Recipes

Oregano means “mountain joy” and is a wonderfully aromatic, flavorful herb popularly used in Spanish and Mediterranean cooking. Oregano also goes by the name marjoram (though it is not to be confused with sweet marjoram). Oregano adds depth and savor to any dish, but goes particularly well with tomatoes, eggplant, and any meat. Sprinkle some in your scrambled eggs or salad dressings, too.

9. Vitamin Boost

Oregano is a rich natural source of vitamin K, an important vitamin that is often overlooked. Learn more about vitamin K.

8. Antibacterial Punch

Did you know that oregano has anti-bacterial properties? You can find oregano oil in many specialty and health food shops for this very reason. Oregano contains thymol and carvacrol, two oils which have remarkable bacteria-fighting power. In fact, researchers recently discovered that oregano is a better treatment for giardia than the prescription drug commonly prescribed to treat the illness.

7. Antioxidants, Too

Thymol and an acid called rosmarinic are potent antioxidants that oregano offers. Ready for a surprise? Research shows that “…On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano has demonstrated 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.”

6. Minerals

Oregano is high in iron, manganese, and other important minerals for health. It’s one of the healthiest and tastiest herbs you can try, so if you haven’t stopped reading yet to run out and buy some, scoot!

5. Fiber Full

Oregano is rich in fiber (the amount is similar to chicory). Fiber is necessary to provide bulk for better elimination. As Mark always says, fiber is king!

4. Go fresh!

When buying oregano, it’s best to purchase fresh leaves instead of the dried variety. Yes, a little shakity-shake is easier and more convenient, but you also miss out on those beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant oils. Fresh oregano is pretty inexpensive. In fact, it’s very easy to grow yourself!

3. Omega-3’s

Oregano is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Does it get any better?

2. Perfume

Oregano makes a lovely scent for your skin similar to patchouli. It is guaranteed to drive the ladies wild, gentlemen. Because it is a commonly used ingredient in pizzas and spaghetti, don’t be surprised if people, especially former carb addicts, bite you. Obviously, Mark’s Daily Apple cannot be responsible for this potential risk. But hey, maybe you like being bitten. No judgment here.

1. The Things We Get Away With Around Here…

#2 was completely made up.

Hey: What are your favorite ways to use oregano? You do use oregano, right?

Further reading:

Edible Flowers (they’re not for slugs anymore!)

Top Ten Fibrous Foods (must be pronounced fibb-russ in order to count)

Tonomura Flickr Photo (CC)

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You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Had no idea it was a source for Omega 3. Wow. That’s cool. Did know it had other health benefits, though.

    Just use Oregano as a food spice… Italian.. that’s it. Boring, I know.. but….

    Incognito wrote on November 8th, 2007
  2. Yes I also use it as food spice only. I have no idea that it’s also high in iron. Meat would be incomplete if it’s not marinated in spice and oregano yet. I love to top any sauce with oregano, it adds the scent and savory flavor. Regarding number 2# Add rosemary to the perfume mix and you’ll become nation’s hottest man :D.

    One Big Health Nut wrote on November 8th, 2007
  3. Do you receive the same benefits by drinking it as tea?

    Suki wrote on October 24th, 2008
    • Oregano tea is a pleasantly bitter tonic for the digestion and for colds and flue. However, some people (as in the individual who commented on this page) may find it disagrees with them, so try a weak infusion first or mix it with other herbs like peppermint or chamomile. Oil of oregano is used for intensive purposes in treating infections and is much, much stronger than oregano as tea. The safest bet is to enjoy ample quantities of it in your cooking. Your taste buds will thank you!

      Adam wrote on January 14th, 2010
      • I do make it a habit to drink oregano tea( I pour hot water to my fresh oregano leaf) and it makes me energetic the whole day. Even my co-workers are asking me to gives them some of it because it makes them feel better each day and gives them a good night sleep after.

        Lenimai wrote on June 6th, 2014
  4. does it have any negative affects? i seem to get a stomach ach when i cook with oregano.

    norma wrote on March 30th, 2009
    • Some people do indeed get mild stomach upsets when they consume oregano. Personally, I find it to be a good treatment for any form of indigestion, but I guess everyone is different!

      Adam wrote on January 14th, 2010
  5. may i ask if oregano is also a herb for yeast infection

    banang wrote on October 7th, 2009
    • I believe that oil of oregano can be used for the purpose of treating yeast infections, as it is an effective anti-macrobial agent. If you want to experiement with it, I would suggest taking it orally (follow package directions on any commercially available oregano oil product). Because of it’s irritant effect, I would not advise using it topically. Also, if you’re interested in alternative treatments to yeast infections you may wish to try an herb called Taheebo (or Pau D’Arco) as a tea or in capsules.

      Adam wrote on January 14th, 2010
    • Yes can assist with yeast infections

      aj wrote on September 27th, 2011
  6. One interesting thing I’ve found about the herb Oregano is that I still enjoy it immencely in food despite also taking it in medicinal quantities (as a strong tea or as oil of oregano) which render an intensely strong, almost unpleasant taste. The opposite can be said of Ginger, which I’ve come to dislike in food because I use this herb medicinally rather often and the smell or taste of it reminds me of feeling ill. Not the case with Oregano- a truely versatile herb which together with Rosemary, Thyme & Sage compliments nearly all savory foods and serves a multitude of medicinal purposes.

    Adam wrote on November 22nd, 2009
    • We use it to worm our livestock.3 drops of the oil per adult goat daily for 10 days, mixed with food. It can be used similarly for humans, but it kills good gut bugs, so I’d only use it if I’d tried more gentle approaches, and had been diagnosed with something specific. Nigella seeds can be used similarly. No harm in eating the fresh herb, but careful with the oil..

      jill wrote on April 21st, 2014
  7. I use fresh oregano in salads with spring mix, parsley, and mint. I add dried cranberries, greek olives and feta cheese, also purple onions. The combo sounds wild, but the flavors combine as though it was part of a “plan”
    I also make “pizza” with portobello mushroom as the base, add fresh oregano, spread on some homemade pesto, and sliced fresh mozzarella- slightly grilled (or nuked) to melt the cheese and YUMMY!

    sillybilly wrote on September 20th, 2010
  8. The only time I eat oregano is when I go out to restaurants. But you have definitely sold me on trying to eat more and add it into my daily eating plan.

    Great article, thanks for sharing!

    Mike wrote on October 27th, 2010
  9. Oregano has to be the king of dried herbs. The taste and scent remains stronger than any other spice or herb. Fresh oregano still beats it of course.

    Oregano makes me think of Italian flavours as well, but I also use it to make stir fries once in a while.

    Jeff wrote on November 12th, 2010
  10. I heard it can be used for respiratory problems and decreases the need for the other medications over time. What comment do you have regarding this?

    trish grieger wrote on August 17th, 2011
    • I heard on radio long ago, this health
      fellow saying how great oregano was for respiratory problems… So, being a former smoker, I have taken oil of oregano in capsule form for 20 yrs.
      Just recently had a chest X-ray which
      showed I had excellant lungs, postively
      no issues… I am 79 yrs old… so I’ll keep on taking oil of oregano !

      Jason Snyder wrote on February 6th, 2013
      • That’s wonderful to hear! My herbalist wife always gives me oregano oil when I’ve got lung problems, and it really helps.

        Erok wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • How do you take the oregano oil?please answer me back.

          Sandy wrote on August 15th, 2013
    • Somebody advised me to put hot water to oregano leaves but I can’t find any so what I bought is oregano for pizza in a small bottle I put 3 tbsp to a cup of boiled water leave it for 10-15 mins & drink it instantly I got a relief from my harsh nasty cough. No harm in trying.

      Meng wrote on September 6th, 2013
  11. Who knew? To top it off it’s so easy to grow! I’ve had a pot of it growing for several years, even through freezes and snow. Just a few steps from the kithen and Viola!

    Rhonda wrote on December 18th, 2011
  12. We are only talking about wild mountain oregano.It seems to cure everything..The oil cures my teeth and gum issues and the capsule form is the only thing I found to heal sinus infections and stomach issues.It seems to attack mold fungis virus and bacteria and that seems to be the major factor in most of our health problems

    Mikey62 wrote on January 20th, 2012
    • What is the difference between oregano that grows in your backyard then those that grow on the mountains? aren’t they suppose to be the same? just curious since we have oregano planted at my grandmothers terrace we use it for medicinal purposes like cough colds and asthma attacks.

      Ania Gonzales wrote on June 7th, 2013
    • if there are differences then how many oregano leaves should we make into juice and consume to have the same effect as the oregano’s that grow in the mountains. thank you for our answer if you get to read and reply back :)

      Ania Gonzales wrote on June 7th, 2013
  13. How much per day or week should you eat?

    elizabeth wrote on February 4th, 2012
  14. Thank you for the information! I had no idea Oregano was such a powerful herb. I will add oregano to my raw banana ice cream for my next foodie experiment!

    Anika wrote on February 28th, 2012
  15. Sounds like oregano might be one of those elusive “perfect foods”. Of course in the right quantity.

    Matthew Caton wrote on March 15th, 2012
    • A favorite recipe in my house is Chicken Kolandros (named for my grandparents’ friend Helen). It is very easy and very delicious! Four chicken breasts (bone and skin on for flavor), add salt & pepper and oregano [I use dried shaker] to both sides. Preheat oven to 350 or 375 if pcs are big. pour very light olive oil in baking pan. Lay chicken in bones down. Turn halfway thru baking. Bake at least 45 minutes, check & do 5-10 more if needed. Chicken comes out bones up and skin beautiful golden brown. Delicious and savory-makes the kitchen smell delish!

      Barbara wrote on July 6th, 2012
  16. Hey, I just finished my smoothie. I actually have tons of oregano growing in my yard, so I make a green smoothie with a couple of sprigs of fresh oregano, throw in a couple of leaves of plantain and dandelion weeds and add a large banana with some water. It makes a nice light green smoothie and it taste a little herbally but mostly banana tasting. I love adding herbs to my smoothies. And it is a good way to make use of oregano as oregano grows like crazy.

    Sario wrote on May 16th, 2012
  17. if you have tones of oregano, try making juice out of it, you can use juice extractor or blender, if you use blender, just add 2 glasses of water to 100 grms of fresh oregano and use kitchen strainer to separate the pulp, a cold glass of oregano is a lot better than any SODA !!!

    pepito wrote on June 15th, 2012
  18. use it also in your veggie smothie, mix it with your other green fresh vegatables.

    pepito wrote on June 15th, 2012
  19. OREGANO HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!! Helps with digestive issues, helps sinus issues, gives you a burst of energy, helps arthritis( oil of oregano….amazing) under the tongue then down the hatch….helps lungs and any breathing issues……great ancient remedy;);)

    lori wrote on July 10th, 2012
  20. can oregano help remove scar in the lungs for patients that has a history of minimal PTB?

    jackie wrote on July 28th, 2012
  21. Oregano Oil is awesome, it’s great to use when you have a viral or bacterial infection. If you have athletes foot you can rub some oil on there. It’s AWESOME stuff!

    Christy Kneen wrote on August 5th, 2012
  22. Very interesting and health giving herb.

    James Johnny wrote on August 17th, 2012
  23. I am told that oil of oregano is good for healing cold sores. Is this right? I just read all the comments on this website and no mention of cold sore remedy.
    Can anyone advise me on this. Please reply to my email address. Thanks.

    Rose Henderson wrote on August 28th, 2012
    • For cold sores, stay out of the direct sun, esp . when its just starting . Beat its growth by placing an ice pack on it for a few minutes.
      Sorry to say but once you get the virus of the cold sore… you got it for life .So watch that hot sun .

      Floyd wrote on May 27th, 2014
  24. Oil of oregano on a bandage over a spider bite is by far the best remedy I have ever seen. The infection will be gone and no scar from bite or infection. It is being tested for cancer treatment also, I read. It will stop topical pain by mixing it with lotion so the smell is not to bad.

    Linda Peterson wrote on August 29th, 2012
  25. Oregano users, to use as a spice to your foods is great and health benificail, but rememeber the gut has both good and bad bacteria, and has to have a balance in order to work correctly. If useing the oil or natural Oregano take a Probitic with at least 10-14 different strains in it this balances the bacteria in your gut and keeps U healthy or an unbalanced flora will make U sick with diarrhea and weakness but with the Probiotic it keeps your gut flora healthy each strain is an enzymes and each one digest a different food one does fat one proteins one for carbs… and so on. It is always good t take Probiotics with all te junk foods and packaged food and sweets with artificial sweetners so do your self a favor and get rid of the soda and do water and keep healthy, disease can not grow in a healthy body! Spices are wondrful one of Gods ways to good health…

    Carly wrote on August 30th, 2012
  26. aren’t Gods creations just amazing !!!

    Jimmey wrote on September 5th, 2012
  27. I also understand that oregeno is now being experimented with for treating prostrate cancer – — Is this true?

    mickey wrote on September 18th, 2012
    • I am very interested in learning more of OREGANO as a treatment for Prostrate Cancer.

      Mal Carlson wrote on September 8th, 2013
  28. is incredible all the oregano do. I add something to this.
    if you have vomits nausea stomachache and headaches due to or after meals take oregano tea… 1/2 or 1 tsp. bring to boil in a 1 1/2 cup of water

    julio mendoza wrote on September 21st, 2012
  29. I’m very curious about oregano. Suppose I steep a few tbsp of oregano in apple cider vinegar for several weeks and then strain out the oregano, will the vinegar retain the benefits of the oregano? Suppose I would steep garlic and clove along with the oregano, would the vinegar retain those benefits as well?

    Paul wrote on January 31st, 2013
  30. I do use it as a perfume additive. Since it has such great antimicrobial properties, I use a few drops in the batch. I mix an antimicrobial blend with Oregano, Marjoram, Tea Tree, Clove, Lemon, Basil (and I think a few others) too. That is what I use on my toes every day to keep funky feet away. :) Works well as deodorant too.

    Allison Van Eck wrote on February 14th, 2013
  31. A way back in 1920.s one of my ancestors had a well known distillery in Continental Europe and he invented a liquor that was called “Granite” .
    It’s main ingredient was Oregano . I was told that it was excellent for stomach ailments.

    charly wrote on March 1st, 2013
  32. Love reading all these amazing benefits for the use of oregano. I grow oregano ( in fact it acts like a perennial for me), so, my question is…. How much and how often could I take a pinch to live naturally healthy right from my garden? Why would I use oil for benefits if I can just nibble on it?

    Cheryl wrote on March 12th, 2013
  33. I put it in Refried beans and chicken stock, just remove stems before eating! Also goes great raw with cilantro in guacamole. Add some to your chimichurri. Now that I know it’s that good for you, I’ll try adding a bit to my next batch of pesto!
    Here in Texas, it is a very easy plant to keep in your yard!

    Jill wrote on March 15th, 2013
  34. Have taken an oregano capsule daily for about twelve years. Colds and flu stopped immediately! Attacks are seldom, and very mild; sinuses never clogged. Began wondering if I should have the shingles vaccine. Decided not to because I wondered what the oregano may be doing to the virus hiding out in my body. Well, now I have shingles! It is not a full-blown attack. I was very uncomfortable, but still functional. I attribute this to my historical use of oregano. Doctor put me on a course of Valtrex for a week, which provided little or no relief. As soon as I finished that, I upped my dose of oregano to four capsules a day. Within a day, I was feeling better. Now I am just somewhat uncomfortable. Just one guy’s statistically anecdotal experience, but I would suggest it is worth a try.

    aressess wrote on March 26th, 2013
  35. Oragon seeds are called Ajwain in Hindi (read India). They are often mixed with all purpose floors in making deep fried snacks such as Samosa, Paapdi, Puri etc. It is supposed to help with digestion.

    Gyanesh Sharma wrote on April 11th, 2013
  36. maybe a great article but next time you talk about research please leave at bottom where the research can be found. That will make students lives (mine) much easier. thank you

    Tony wrote on May 3rd, 2013
  37. Do Oregano helps in curing Fistula ????

    Data Sharan wrote on June 29th, 2013
  38. It is the most amazing herb ever.
    I drink it daily and have noticed the
    difference in my body.
    I feel great and notice a difference in my skin.
    awesome stuff.
    loving it.

    yolanda wrote on August 15th, 2013
  39. Can Aregano helps to lower the blood pressure

    Tsimanji Cronnie wrote on August 29th, 2013
  40. I have a bad cold and sinustis for the last three days and today was the worst followed by sore throat. I came home four hours ago and I relized I have Oregano from Asia mart that I bought two days ago. So I washed it and add little salt and fresh onion. I also boil some water and add a few leaves to make a tea. I had them wirh rice.Just after having dinner I realized I could breath without blocking nose. The sore throat had left me. I was surprise by it and I started to find oregano by the name of Herb and end up here..while writing this I do not need any tissue to blow my nose…God bless oregano….it save my evening….

    esi wrote on October 29th, 2013
    • I just read that oregano was used by the Aztecs for intestinal inflamation. I lean a lot from your article and I will start using this marvelous plant as often as possible. Thank you

      francisco duarte wrote on September 25th, 2014

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