Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a perennial plant that grows up to 3 feet high and 2 feet wide. It enjoys full sun and is a low maintenance plant with pinkish-purple or white flowers that attract butterflies. Oregano essential oils have been studied extensively as the plant and oil have a rich history in traditional medicine, beginning in the Middle Ages when the leaves were chewed to help reduce the pain of rheumatism, toothache and indigestion. The ancient Greeks used it to treat skin conditions and the herb was used in China for fever and upset stomach.
Oregano Is a Potent Antioxidant With High ORAC Value
The herb is rich in phenols, which are natural phytochemicals that have beneficial antioxidant effects. The two most abundant are thymol and carvacrol. One lab analysis of the antioxidant ability of foods is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). The measurement was used to demonstrate that foods high in antioxidant capacity could help slow the process of aging in the brain and body. Fresh oregano has an ORAC value of 13,970 and dried herb a value of 175,295. The antioxidant compounds found in the whole oregano plant or essential oil work synergistically to provide a host of health benefits from the antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Have You Considered Oil of Oregano for the Common Cold?
Each year there are more than 1 billion people who contract a cold in the U.S. and up to 20% of people get the flu. Rhinovirus is one of the most common viruses that cause the common cold. However, other viruses can also cause cold symptoms, including coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2. A few studies have evaluated the efficacy of oregano essential oil or oregano oil extract against upper respiratory infections. One 2019 study looked at a blend of oregano, thyme and salvia oils against upper respiratory tract viruses, including adenovirus 5, rhinovirus, influenza and RSV. The blend showed strong antiviral activity against rhinovirus and two of the three strains of influenza.
Rosmarinic acid has been identified as a major antioxidant in oregano, and research has demonstrated it can inhibit seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in patients using two independent mechanisms — inhibition of the inflammatory response and scavenging reactive oxygen species. Data also show that French oregano tablets rapidly reduced symptoms in patients with the common cough and cold.
Oregano Supports Your GI Tract
Your immune system is largely supported by the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, referred to as your gut microbiome. Oregano oil can have an impact on supporting your gut microbiome and treating bacterial overgrowth. Oregano oil and carvacrol are also active against bacterial agents in the kitchen that can lead to food poisoning. Another study found oregano essential oil could remove staphylococcus aureus biofilms on stainless steel. Finally, oregano oil also shows activity against small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This condition can develop after surgery, disease or medications have slowed the intestinal tract, which then sets up a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Excess harmful bacteria can cause malnutrition, diarrhea and weight loss.
To be continued…