People use oregano in the diet as supplements and as an aromatic oil.
The antioxidants thymol, carvacrol, limonene, terpinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene give the herb its flavor and scent. They also contribute to the health benefits of oregano oil. Oregano provides other antioxidants when people consume it in the diet.
You can keep a little dried oregano in your spice cabinet as a no-calorie pizza topper, but add some of the amazingly verdant fresh stuff to your shopping cart, too. Choose bright green leaves and a firm stem and use the leaves liberally (the stems are inedible). Two teaspoons have no calories and six percent of your daily fiber needs.
If you want to use oregano oil to help heal your ailments, know that it’s too strong to use alone, so it needs to be mixed with another oil, such as olive oil, in a 1:3 ratio. You need only a few drops as a dosing.
- Fresh oregano is a great antibacterial agent. It has phytonutrients(thymol and carvacrol), which fight infections such as staph. It’s loaded with antioxidants that help prevent cell damage, and it’s an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin E, tryptophan and calcium.
- Dried oregano is also healthful (with similar benefits to fresh), but it needs to be handled carefully. Store it in a clean, dry, glass container and chuck it after six months. Old oregano, like most spices, loses its flavor and benefits over time.
- Oregano oil should be used a little differently than fresh oregano. The oil is recommended as a remedy for sore throats, poor digestion, nausea, nasal congestion, cold soresand muscle and joint pain, and it has antimicrobial properties that make it a good preventive strategy. No sugar coating here: It tastes terrible, so mix it where you can hide it best. Uses for oregano oil are different depending on the condition, but generally a few drops a day for a week to 10 days is recommended.
Oregano may help fight bacteria, relieve inflammation, and regulate blood sugar.
People around the Mediterranean region have used oregano for centuries in herbal medicine to treat many ailments, including:
- skins sores
- aching muscles
- to boost overall health
Scientists need to do more research to confirm the benefits of using oregano, but there is some evidence that it could help:
- fight bacteria
- relieve inflammation
- regulate blood sugar and lipids
- fight cancer
Oregano and other herbs provide antioxidants. Dietary antioxidants help the body eliminate free radicals, which are toxic substances that result from natural processes and environmental stresses. A buildup of free radicals can trigger oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to cell damage that may result in various diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
The main components of oregano essential oil are carvacrol and thymol. These may have antimicrobial properties.
In a 2019 laboratory study, carvacrol and thymol prevented various strains of Staphyloccus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria from developing in meat and dairy products, suggesting that it could help control bacterial growth in foods.
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 is worth noting that the studies used concentrated extracts of oregano. This is not the same as humans eating oregano in the diet.
Protecting against cancer
Some of the ingredients in oregano may have anticancer properties.
Scientists have found evidence that extracts may help prevent DNA damage in cells due to oxidative stress, radiation, and mitogens, a type of protein that can cause unwanted cell division.
Researchers have also found evidence that carvacrol and thymol may prevent melanoma cells from growing and skin cancer from spreading.
While eating oregano by itself is unlikely to prevent cancer, a varied, plant-based diet that is rich in antioxidants may help prevent cell changes that can lead to cancer.