Oregano is a staple in kitchens around the globe. But there’s more to this classic Mediterranean herb than its pungent aroma, faint bitter taste and astringent mouthfeel. Here Alexandra Rowles, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on benefits and uses of oregano oil, medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RD, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT:
“Oregano is a fragrant herb that’s best known as an ingredient in Italian food.
However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that’s loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.
Oregano oil is the extract and, although it’s not as strong as the essential oil, it appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Essential oils, on the other hand, are not meant to be consumed.
Interestingly, oregano oil is an effective natural antibiotic and antifungal agent, and it may help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels.
What is oregano oil?
Botanically known as Origanum vulgare, oregano is a flowering plant from the same family as mint. It’s often used as an herb to flavor food.
Although it’s native to Europe, it now grows all over the world.
Oregano has been popular ever since the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations used it for medicinal purposes. In fact, the name oregano comes from the Greek words “oros,” meaning mountain, and “ganos,” meaning joy or delight.
The herb has also been used for centuries as a culinary spice.
Oregano essential oil is made by air-drying the leaves and shoots of the plant. Once they’re dried, the oil is extracted and concentrated by steam distillation (1).
Oregano essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically. However, it should not be consumed orally.
Oregano oil extract, on the other hand, can be produced via several extraction methods using compounds like carbon dioxide or alcohol. It’s widely available as a supplement and can often be found in pill or capsule form (2Trusted Source).
Oregano contains compounds called phenols, terpenes, and terpenoids. They have powerful antioxidant properties and are responsible for its fragrance (2Trusted Source):
- Carvacrol. The most abundant phenol in oregano, it has been shown to stop the growth of several different types of bacteria (3Trusted Source).
- Thymol. This natural antifungal can also support the immune system and protect against toxins (4).
- Rosmarinic acid. This powerful antioxidant helps protect against damage caused by free radicals (5Trusted Source).
These compounds are thought to underlie oregano’s many health benefits.
Here are 9 potential benefits and uses of oregano oil.
Oregano and the carvacrol it contains may help fight bacteria.
The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium is one of the most common causes of infection, resulting in ailments like food poisoning and skin infections.
One particular study looked at whether oregano essential oil improved the survival of 14 mice infected with Staphylococcus aureus.
It found that 43% of the mice given oregano essential oil lived past 30 days, a survival rate nearly as high as the 50% survival rate for mice that received regular antibiotics (6Trusted Source).
Research has also shown that oregano essential oil may be effective against some potentially antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Although more human studies on the effects of oregano oil extract are needed, it contains many of the same compounds as oregano essential oil and may offer similar health benefits when used as a supplement.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-oregano-oil-benefits-and-uses#1.-Natural-antibiotic
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