Oregano: 10 Natural Health Benefits & Healing Uses

As 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.)


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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78 thoughts on “Oregano: 10 Natural Health Benefits & Healing Uses”

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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….

  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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. Yes, I drink it every day straight after my coffee and daamnnnnn.. All day Im eating faces…..

    2. I have Oregano and Peppermint growing side by side in my garden. I love that these perennials keep coming back year after year. Like peppermint, oregano spreads out quite a bit if you don’t trim it. It blooms early in May and I assume that’s the time to harvest when the leaves are tender and healthiest. I’ve always used oregano for cooking only, both dried and fresh. About a week ago, I decided to try oregano and peppermint tea steeped overnight in a glass jar. Amazingly delightsome tea. It is very mild, no bitter taste at all and the peppermint gives it a minty aroma. So I decided to read more about oregano because I intend to drink more of it 🙂 Healthy stuff indeed!

  3. does it have any negative affects? i seem to get a stomach ach when i cook with oregano.

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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..

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

    1. 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 !

      1. That’s wonderful to hear! My herbalist wife always gives me oregano oil when I’ve got lung problems, and it really helps.

    2. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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 🙂

  11. 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!

    1. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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 !!!

  14. use it also in your veggie smothie, mix it with your other green fresh vegatables.

  15. 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;);)

  16. can oregano help remove scar in the lungs for patients that has a history of minimal PTB?

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

    1. 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 .

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. I also understand that oregeno is now being experimented with for treating prostrate cancer – — Is this true?

    1. I am very interested in learning more of OREGANO as a treatment for Prostrate Cancer.

  22. 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

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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….

    1. 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

  33. Oregano Oil is simply the BEST antiseptic, antibacterial product for the skin. Internal or external – I have personally used it on my gums, for an abcessed tooth, ulcers, pimples, boils, infected cuts, tinea, fungal infection under nails, crusty pre-cancer growths on face and hands… and also on my cats when they had abcess from cat fights. I have had friends use it for leg ulcers and surgical wounds.
    I would NOT want to be without it in the house. I grow it and have used the fresh leaves in salads and stirr fries and believe it is very good for digestive problems from poor stomach flora or bacteria.
    DONT underestimate the power of this magnificent herb. It can save you money and pain and doctors visits 🙂

    1. did it heal the tooth abcess? my dog has one now, and her cheek is swollen, the vet wants to take it out because it will “probably come back” after the antibiotics.

  34. I use to have a pain one week before and after my menstrual period, but this month was the worst pain of my life that I went to the doctor and did not solve my problem. He just asked me if I want to get a CT or wait if it disappears. I was on terrible pain, but I use to drink different teas, like ginger, cinnamon, camomile, and some time mixed with oregano. Yesterday, for some reason I did drink cinnamon and fresh oregano tea before I left at my job and I another cup of the same tea after six hours, and I noticed that my pain despaired. This morning when I waked up I could not believe that my pelvic pain was not bothering me anymore. I was thinking and remembering what I ate or drink yesterday, and found out that the cinnamon and oregano tea was the only different thing compared with other days. So, I am so exited about it because I was reading a lot about endometriosis and was scared about it, because my symptoms were similar to that. Now, I am going to send a message to my doctor about the god news, and tell him that I do not want the CT anymore, thanks to the cinnamon and oregano tea. It same me a lot; pain, time and money.

  35. Hi i just curiously about the oregano treatments this herbs it can cure the candida fungi please I need your comment if can help me a lots I give u a million thanks for the info about this leaves.

  36. Fresh greek or Mediterranean Oregano is the strongest and has more flavor. People living along the Mediterranean Ocean have beenusing oregano for century’s. It funny how “advaanced countries” over look old remidies, then reestablish them as the new cure all.

  37. I use it after oil pulling, just to rinse my mouth.

    I use it after shaving with some coconut oil

    I use it for toothaches or other oral problems

    I also drink it once in awhile, does some cleansing I believe.

    Jehovah’s creations are magnificent!

  38. I disagree that we can grow it in this country. According to the studying I’ve done, Wild Oregano can only be grown in the mountainous area of Greece, Turkey & Portugal.

  39. I am always been a beliver of oregano leaves since my father told me about its benefits,and when i tried,i used it all the time to cure colds and cough for the whole family including my little ones…i never use any drugs for any sinusitis or cough issues especially for my kids. I pick 7 oregano leaves or sometimes 9 leaves, put it in my mug, put on boiling water and cover it. after a 4 hours, i will be starting sipping it and the result is the best. for my kids ages 0 – 6 years old. i take out the small amount of water from my mug, squeeze lemon and honey add water and my kids love to drink it. for my kid at 8 month old,if he has colds, i add a small amount of oregano water to his milk. and yes! its result was truly great.

  40. up to three days ago I had breathing problem with a productive cough. someone told me to use oregano tea twice a day, to my pleasant surprise I am free of all the above symptoms. I will continue with my tea and hope for success.

  41. This is incorrect. When using oregano oil medicinally, it is important NOT to use marjoram, but to instead use wild mountain oregano. “Regular” oregano is origanum vulgare, so I am looking for the peppery species which is instead used to treat infection. “Regular” oregano is not spicy and will not sure anything. Do NOT rely on marjoram to treat any illness.

  42. i live in nova scotia n cannot find mountain leaf oregano or oil can u help thank you

  43. Hi my name is Martha I boil purple onion with oregano when onion is cooked I strain it in a cup add one lime and I spoonful of pure honey. That helps to clean lungs and notice bowel movements are great. Feel energized and noticed circulation on my legs clearer I have spider veins and when I take it my legs looks clearer. Try to take it twice a day. If you have broncoitis take 3 times a day. I know for a fact it really helps other problems so it doesn’t hurt to try. Good Luck and stay healthy. Walk at least 20 minutes per day it doesn’t hurt.

  44. I just started
    Oregano in my morning drink. With lemons and water I let you know the results.

  45. Hi, I’m drinking lipton lemon tea and I put 2 leaves of oregano with a teaspoon of honey everyday. and im so loving it.