12 Benefits of Oregano

The smell of pizza is one of the most recognizable and striking scents, and its wonderfully herby and woody aroma is mostly owed to oregano.

Also known as ‘the pizza spice,’ oregano is one of the most popular aromatic herbs with a rich history! 

Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, is a small perennial plant of the mint family or Lamiaceae. It is used as a spice and is often combined with other aromatic herbs such as basil and thyme. 

This flowering herb with oval and ‘hairy’ leaves is native to hills of the Mediterranean region, which explains its name. The word ‘oregano’ comes from the Greek words’ oros’ and ‘ganos,’ which translate to ‘mountain’ and ‘joy,’ respectively. 

Interestingly, oregano can also be found in western Asia, and it has been naturalized in places with suitable climates, such as Mexico and the United States.

According to Greek mythology, oregano was created by the goddess of love, Aphrodite, as a symbol of joy and luck. 

There are many reasons why it was considered ‘joyful.’ Romans and Greeks believed this plant could bring luck and good health, so they used it to treat several health issues, including sores, aching muscles, symptoms of colds, and even respiratory conditions. 

The plant was equally valuable and popular in Ancient Egypt, where it was used as a spice and remedy, a food preservative, and an antidote for poison! 

Benefits of Oregano

Oregano in Cooking

As a spice synonymous with pizza, which comes from Italy, it is unsurprising that oregano is a staple of Italian cuisine.

Its woody, herby, and slightly minty aroma complements various foods and is used with various types of meat, pasta, vegetables, salads, sauces, and more. 

Due to its pungent smell and slightly bitter and sweet aroma, oregano is often added to balance acidic and salty dishes. It can easily be included in meat and vegetable stews, salad dressings, and sauces. 

What makes oregano a special and versatile spice is its compatibility with other herbs and spices, which explains why it is a common ingredient in many herb blends and recipes.

It also pairs well with many vegetables, such as peppers, garlic, asparagus, eggplant, and, most importantly, tomatoes.

Considering its compatibility with tomatoes, it is often a ‘must-include’ spice for tomato sauces and tomato-centric dishes. 

Oregano Tea

Did you know that you can make tea with oregano? Even though oregano’s aromatic leaves are mostly used as a spice, you can also make a wonderful herbal fusion with many health benefits.

You can use fresh or dry leaves, but remember that dry leaves are more aromatic and will have a more concentrated taste.

Place two teaspoons of dried oregano in ½ cup of boiling water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Depending on your taste, add a slice of lemon and a bit of honey for an extra sweet and citrusy kick!

12 Benefits of Oregano

As one of the oldest herbs, there is a reason why oregano is so popular and widely used in numerous cultures worldwide.

Yes, it can transform a seemingly bland dish into a wonderful fusion of mouth-watering aromas, but it is highly beneficial for our health and offers therapeutic properties!

1. It is Full of Antioxidants

Like many other herbs, oregano is packed with antioxidants, which help and facilitate optimal metabolism and well-being.

Oregano contains numerous phenolic compounds, such as carvacrol, ocimene, rosmarinic acid, and thymol, which are mostly credited with its antioxidant properties. 

Antioxidants generally perform a crucial function in preserving health- they scavenge free radicals that can harm our body cells and prevent oxidation. 

2. Antibacterial Properties 

Besides its antioxidant properties, oregano also has antibacterial effects, which can be highly helpful when dealing with cold symptoms and other bacteria-caused complications. 

According to a study done with oregano oil, thanks to compounds such as carvacrol and thymol, oregano is highly effective against certain strains of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Compared to other essential oils, such as thyme or cilantro oil, oregano is said to be the best at hindering the growth of bacteria. 

3. Antiviral and Antifungal Properties 

Due to its high levels of thymol, oregano may also help combat fungal growth and viruses. According to research done in 2015, thymol is highly efficient in battling candida fungal infections.

On the other hand, oregano’s main compound, carvacrol, is a proven ally against different human and animal viruses. It is said to be particularly effective when combined with thyme and saliva, and this blend may show strong antiviral properties against rhinovirus. 

4. May Help Reduce Inflammation 

Not only is oregano antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, but it can also help decrease inflammation! Several animal studies have shown that oregano oil can reduce swelling or inflammatory markers, which may lead to the development of an infection, such as colitis. 

However, research is still underway as more human studies are required to determine the full extent of oregano’s compounds in battling infections and auto-immune conditions.

5. Potential Anti-Cancer Effects

As a spice rich in antioxidants, it is known to counter the effects of free radicals in our body and may also have anti-cancer properties. 

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, oregano contains anti-cancer compounds that may slow the growth of tumors and malignant tissue.

In a specific animal study, the essential oils of oregano slowed the development of breast cancer in mice. However, more research must be done since these are mainly animal studies. 

6. Stimulates Digestive System

Oregano is not a popular and widely used spice and remedy for no reason! Some of the first nations that came into contact with oregano recognized its numerous benefits, especially for stimulating the digestive system and bettering bowel movement.

Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and compounds, which facilitate these benefits, oregano can reduce bloating, constipation, and flatulence!

7. Helps with Wound Healing

As mentioned, the Greeks and Romans used oregano to treat various sores and wounds, and they were not crazy to believe that it could actually help! 

Several new studies have proven that applying high concentrations of oregano extract ointment can decrease bacterial contamination and subsequent infection in post-surgical wounds. 

8. May Treat the Symptoms of a Cold 

It all comes back to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties! Besides numerous powerful antioxidants, oregano contains vitamin C, which can help with cold symptoms.

People usually use it by adding two drops of oregano oil to a glass of warm water! It is suggested that you drink this only for two or three days! 

However, remember that oregano oil alone cannot eliminate the flu but alleviate cold-like symptoms. 

9. Can Help With Skin Problems

The effects of oregano oil are not restricted to battling infection and inflammation within the body. Still, it can also help battle skin conditions caused by bacteria, such as acne.

Oregano can reduce redness caused by acne, irritation, and blemishes. Certain studies have also found that it can help with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. 

10. May lower Blood Pressure

Like many other aromatic herbs and spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon, oregano can help control blood pressure. Several human and animal studies have determined that oregano can lower blood pressure readings if consumed regularly in small amounts.

Carvacrol has proven to be very effective in lowering blood pressure and is often used to treat hypertension, which can lead to several cardiovascular diseases. 

11. It Contains Essential Nutrients

In addition to vitamin C, oregano contains several other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are important in maintaining optimal health and enhancing immunity!

Commonly called marjoram, oregano contains vitamins K and A, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Oregano’s special and potent properties are also owed to two important flavonoids: myricetin and quercetin, which reduce oxidative stress among their other functions. 

12. May Relieve Pain

 On top of its numerous benefits, did you know that oregano may induce pain relief? According to the results of an animal study done with mice, oregano is an effective painkiller that promotes wound healing. 

People use diluted oregano oil in a massage to relieve pain, itchiness, and discomfort caused by insect bites. It can also relieve muscle pain, joint pain, rashes, and allergies! 

12 Benefits of Oregano
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