Oil of Oregano is a very potent steam distilled extract of a fresh aromatic plant. Oregano oil is very concentrated; the essential oil becomes a completely different healing tool than its dried herbal tea counterpart. You may find it difficult to drink enough oregano tea from your spice rack to clear up a sinus infection and soaking your fungal feet in oregano tea infusion may take years of daily soaking before you see results!! Oregano tea will help to alleviate an upset stomach or gently bring down a fever, but to get fast results for general home emergency care, the potent drops of Oil of Oregano can be just what the herbal doctor ordered.
Oil of Oregano is the first supplement that comes to mind as a, “If in doubt, recommend it” product for most of us at Optimum Health. I personally use it as a first line of defense for many health ailments such as: cuts & scrapes, pimples, cold & flu symptoms, allergies, fevers, etc. It covers a broad range of actions and it can be very fast acting.
Oregano is also known as ‘Wild Marjoram’, which can be somewhat confusing… as common plant names can be. The scientific name of Oregano is Origanum vulgare and Marjoram is Origanum marjorana, they belong in the same botanical family (Labiatae) and have many of the same healing properties. They also smell quite similar as most of us know from having them in our spice cabinets. When I was younger I remember wondering what the difference was between these two herbs in particular, since they have such a similar smell and they obviously looked the same as well.
The main differences become more obvious when looking at the essential oil ‘constituents’ or ‘markers’, as science calls it. Unlike Marjoram, Oregano contains thymol, a potent anti-fungal plant constituent also found in Thyme oil (Thymus vulgaris, same botanical family); we use Thyme oil with great success in Kolya Naturals Day Spa for recommendation of fungal toe nails.
Oregano also contains more carvacrol constituent than Marjoram and most other essential oils in the world. Carvacrol is the main constituent in Oregano oil that has been shown in studies to produce healing benefits and it is the main marker that manufacturers look for in a high potency and good quality Oil of Oregano.
There is a general consensus with most manufacturers that high quality grown Oregano will naturally contain 70 to 85 percent of carvacrol. Some products have more carvacrol added from synthetic or natural source. I believe in following nature’s lead by sticking to the original balance of synergistic compounds, rather than spiking up one single constituent because it tests well in a lab. Oregano products available at Optimum Health are unadulterated and natural.
Science has now proven Oil of Oregano health benefits are derived mostly from carvacrol and thymol; these are powerful phenols that have the ability to kill harmful microbes in the body. Studies have shown that these two constituents among many others have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties (Dadalioglu).
One in vitro study has shown that Candida albicans, a fungal yeast condition that can grow out of control, had been completely stopped by Oil of Oregano (Manohar).
Current studies at the University of West England have shown that drug-resistant bacteria or “super-bugs” from hospitals have been “wiped out using Oil of Oregano”. The Oregano used for this particular study was grown in the Himalayas; even the vapours in a diluted form destroyed the super strength bacteria (Paddock).
Another human clinical trial also found that an emulsified, water soluble version of Oil of Oregano eliminated intestinal parasites (Force).
Other benefits that have been scientifically validated are the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Oil or Oregano. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to toxins, injury and infections. Excessive inflammation will cause degeneration of the body’s systems.
The antioxidant polyphenols, rosmarinic acid and quercetin are active in Oil of Oregano. Studies have shown that the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of Oregano is 4 times greater than blueberries and higher than Vitamin E (Zheng). ORAC testing is a way of measuring the antioxidant properties in foods. The higher the value, the higher the antioxidant levels are, which increases the potential for healing in the body.
Other studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of Oil of Oregano had strong protective effects against the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, a marker for heart cholesterol (Kulisic). More research has shown antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects of Oil of Oregano, suggesting prevention of Cancer (Arcila-Lozano).
Rosmarinic acid found in Oregano oil has been shown in human trials to have an anti-inflammatory action in the body for treating seasonal allergies (Osakabe). With anti-inflammatory effects, Oil of Oregano may also help disorders such as: food allergy reactions, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, toothaches, acne and muscle pain, etc. Topical anti-inflammatory benefits may include: acne, psoriasis, canker sores, muscle aches, toothaches, etc.
The traditional use of Oregano goes back to Roman times, the roots of the botanical name Origanum is Greek for “Mountain of Joy”, because Oregano grows on the mountains with beautiful purple flowers and leaves and has an intoxicating smell.
Traditional use supports that the leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Traditional data supports the use of Oregano taken internally for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation. (A Modern Herbal)
Oil of Oregano dosages depend on product dilution. Products available at Optimum Health are in a base of Extra Virgin Olive oil. The simplest way to know how strong each product is and how much oil you will need per serving is by looking at the carvacrol percentage. If it is over 80%, I may be wonder if extra carvacrol was added, throwing off nature’s delicate balance of between 70% - 80%.
Find an Oil of Oregano that tastes strong enough to make your tongue tingle, burn and go numb, this means that it is of good quality. It is important to let it slowly coat your throat for infections. I recommend finding your dose, doses range from 1-3 drops to a dropper full. Repeat the dose during infections up to 6 times per day. Take for 3- 7 days.
It may be strongly sedative for some people and should not be taken in too large of a dose, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. For clearing up upset bowels due to allergy or toxins, an enteric coated pill is available or drops can be added to juice, tea or water.
Another way to get the healing benefits of Oil of Oregano is to put it on the skin topically for internal healing! For swollen lymph nodes, sore throat or ear infections it can be rubbed directly on the affected area. When I have used it before bed on my swollen and achy tonsils, I always wake up with little to no signs of an infection or swelling!
To further receive the healing benefits of Oregano is to massage the oil onto the soles of the feet. As reflexology has proven, massaging the soles of the feet can derive benefit to the body systems. Adding an essential oil to foot rubs has also been used traditionally for healing the mind and the body (John 12:1-3).
For children, dilute Oil of Oregano in a carrier oil or lotion before rubbing it on the feet. This may be the only way that they will take it. It is very effective from my experience and it is best done at bedtime. For adults this is an alternative method of clearing the body of infections due to fungal, viral or bacterial origin.
Topical application is also effective from my experience for warts, fungal nail growths, pimples, cold sores, etc. It is recommended doing a skin patch test first and diluting it down to find your dose.
For any of these dosage options it is recommended for only short term use. Oil of Oregano is like an anti-biotic with proven anti-bacterial effects. It has caustic properties that will potentially damage sensitive tissue inside and outside the body. This is why a rest period to build up your natural, healthy bacteria and skin tissue is very important. I always recommend consuming some probiotics and/or cultured foods during the Oregano treatment and after. Probiotics are on the top 5 list of supplements for every home, stay tuned!
As far as safety, Oil of Oregano is generally well-tolerated. Gastrointestinal upset or sedation may occur with large dosing. Skin irritation may occur for sensitive skin types. If the dilution of the Oregano to Olive oil is minimal (1:1 or 1:3), I always dilute it further, especially with children! Avoid contact to the eyes, inner ears and inside the nose. Higher dose may cause blood thinning, so beware of drug interactions. Oil of Oregano is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
The tried and true herbal remedy for just about any occasion, Oil of Oregano is by far one of the most popularly used supplements and can do wonders for your natural home health care kit!
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.
- Dadalioglu I., Evrendilek G. A., “Chemical compostition and antibacterial effects of essential oils of Turkish Oregano”, Agric food Chem, 2004
- Manohar V., et al, “Antifungal activities of origanum oil against Candida albicans”, Mol Cell Biochem, 2001
- Paddock C., “Himalaya Oregano Effective Against MRSA” Medical News Today, 2008
- Force M., et al, “Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo”, Phytotherapy Research, 2000
- Zheng W., Wang S.Y., “Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs”, 2001
- Kulisic T., et al, The effects of essential oils and tea infusions of oregano”, Food Sci Nutr, 2007
- Arcila-Lozano C.C., et al, “Oregano: properties, composistion and biological activity” Arch Latinoam Nutr, 2004
- Osakabe N., et al, “Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects of rosmarinic acid (RA)”, Biofactors, 2004
-A Modern Herbal, http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/marwil20.html
-Niels Baekgaard and Vibe Hansen, Glostrop hospital, Copenhagen, “Human clinical trials for Reflexology”, FDZ Magazine, 1993
-Reflexology human clinical trials, http://internethealthlibrary.com/Therapies/Reflexology-Research%20.htm
-John 12:1-3, "Mary annointed Jesus feet with Spikenard", Holy Bible