Reading Time: 4 minutes
Know your ingredient – What is oregano oil?
Belonging to the mint family, Oregano is an aromatic herb famed for its culinary and health attributes. Oregano oil, derived from the leaves and shoots of the Origanum Vulgare plant, is an umbrella term used for both oregano essential oil and oregano infused oil. Oregano essential oil used topically with a carrier oil but not ingested while oregano infused oil can be ingested.
- Carvacrol is the most abundant phenol in oregano which helps inhibit the growth or several types of bacteria.
- Thymol is the natural antifungal found in oregano which supports the immune system and protects the body against toxins.
- Rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Note: oregano oil is different from oregano essential oil. Oregano essential oil is made by steaming and distilling dried oregano leaves and it is very potent. Oil of oregano is made by steeping oregano leaves in a carrier oil like olive oil to extract its flavors and potential health benefits. This type of oil is milder and less concentrated than oregano essential oil.
Oregano oil possesses a triumvirate of virtues- antioxidant, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. The numerous benefits of oregano oil make it a necessary addition to your home.
These are the potential health benefits and uses of oregano oil
- Natural antibiotic- Oregano’s carvacrol content in both oregano essential oil and oregano extract combats bacteria and is considered to be a natural antibiotic for against urinary and respiratory tract infections. Notably, carvacrol-rich oregano oil showcases antibacterial properties which target common strains like Staphylococcus. It can be ingested or used topically.
- Reduces inflammation- Oregano oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties due to its compound carvacrol. Oregano oil can alleviate inflammation, conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, cancer, and Type 1 diabetes and other negative health conditions.
- Powerful antioxidant- Oregano oil offers potent antioxidant benefits due to its rich content of thymol and carvacrol. The antioxidants combat oxidative stress and free radicals, which contribute to aging and diseases like cancer and heart disease. These harmful compounds and free radicals arise in your body from metabolism and environmental factors like smoking and pollution. Antioxidants help protect the body.
- Treats yeast and fungal infections- Yeast is usually harmless, but an excess of it can lead to various infections in the mouth, genitals, and internally. Oregano oil’s strong antifungal properties, attributed to its thymol content, make it an effective antifungal especially against Candida yeast infections like oral thrush and yeast infections like athlete’s foot.
- Lowers cholesterol- Oregano oil is rich in polyphenols like carvacrol and thymol which have potential cholesterol-lowering effects. Studies have shown that oregano oil can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
- Improves your mood- According to experts, oregano oil can help elevate your mood and have similar effects on your brain and body chemistry as that of an antidepressant.
- Promotes digestion- A few drops of oregano oil can have positive effects on the digestive system. It helps in the secretion of gastric juices and enzymes required for digestion along with increasing the absorption of essential nutrients.
- Improves gut health- Oregano oil supports gut health with its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiparasitic and antibacterial properties. It combats harmful bacteria, parasites and promotes a balanced gut microbiome due to the presence of compounds like carvacrol and thymol that are particularly effective against small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
- Heals wounds- Applying diluted oregano oil to the skin helps heal small cuts and scrapes. Thymol and carvacrol found in oregano oil protect these types of wounds from bacterial and fungal infections.
- Relieves pain- Oregano essential oil has great potential when it comes to pain management.
- Fights cancer- Carvacrol, a compound in oregano oil, exhibits potential cancer-fighting properties based on test-tube studies against lung, liver and breast cancer cells. While promising, further research is needed to validate these findings.
- Good for your skin and hair- Oregano oil’s carvacrol content makes it a popular skincare product due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It promotes collagen synthesis for healthy skin and prevents premature aging. The oil’s antifungal properties aid in scalp health, dandruff treatment and improving acne.
- Aids in weight management- Oregano oil’s carvacrol content can help in weight loss and obesity treatment. Carvacrol is the main compound in oregano oil which disrupts fat tissue creation and accumulation, making oregano oil a potential tool for weight loss within a healthy lifestyle.
- Repels insects- Both carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil show promise as insect repellents. It repels ticks and mosquitos. Rubbing diluted oregano oil on the skin or using it as a spray can act as a natural insect repellent against various pests like lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas. Additionally, ingesting oregano oil can help eliminate internal parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms.
- Cold and flu fighter- Oregano oil has been a traditional remedy for respiratory health and has recently gained popularity as an alternative treatment for cold and flu symptoms. Available as a supplement, tincture or essential oil, its effectiveness against respiratory viruses.
How to incorporate oregano oil into your day-
Oregano oil is available in a capsule form, tincture, extract, essential oil or infused. It can be bought from health food stores or online. Be cautious while taking oregano oil and consult a health provider if possible.
Is oregano oil safe?
Oregano oil is generally safe, but avoid it if you are allergic to mint, sage, basil or lavender. Steer clear of oregano oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding, if you have bleeding disorders or are on blood clotting-altering medications. Be cautious about the purity and quality of oil you buy.
The bottom line
Easily attainable and budget-friendly, oregano oil is bursting with the opulent richness of antioxidants emerges as a contender against infections, inflammation and other health concerns. .
Amidst the symphony of oregano oil’s effects on your gut, skin and overall health, it’s important to be cautious while consuming it or using it.
Seek professional guidance before using it to treat any ailments.