I add it to Greek pasta salad, chicken, casseroles, and spaghetti sauce, but oregano does more than add flavor to your food! It contains vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. For the scienc-y type, oregano contains compounds called phenols, terpenes and terpenoids, which have powerful antioxidant properties and are responsible for oregano's amazing fragrance.
Health Benefits of Oregano Oil
The most abundant phenol in oregano oil is carvacrol. It's great for supporting the immune system and healthy liver function. Two additional powerful phytonutrients, thymol and rosmarinic acid, are potent antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent free radical damage to cells throughout the body. Thymol also supports the immune system and promotes the body's innate resistance to pathogens.
Next time you feel the sniffles coming on, add some oregano leaf to a homemade soup or stew for immune system support.
The thymol in oregano oil is not only a phytonutrient, but it's also used in many mouthwashes to promote normal periodontal health and healthy teeth. Try making a homemade mouthwash or even add a drop or two of oregano oil on your toothbrush, with or without toothpaste.
Research shows taking oregano after each meal for 3 months can support normal cardiovascular function, healthy LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels and healthy HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels.
Pathogens and Microorganisms
The active compound, carvacrol, promotes a healthy environment in the GI tract. Oregano promotes the body's innate resistance to pathogens in the intestines. Take oregano oil for 6 weeks for best results.
How to Incorporate Oregano Herb:
- Garnish it on top of your pizza.
- Add to sautéed mushrooms and onions.
- Add a few sprigs to your olive oil to infuse the oil with the essence of the herb.
- Fresh oregano is an aromatic addition to omelets and frittatas.
- Add to homemade pasta, garlic bread, and spaghetti sauce.
- Oregano oil (diluted in coconut oil) can be rubbed onto your skin to support skin health and help maintain normal moisture content of skin.
- It can be used on the feet to promote the body's innate resistance to pathogens.
- Oregano oil diluted in olive oil can be rubbed on muscles and joints for occasional stiffness and soreness.
- Use oregano oil for healthy nails to stop nails from splintering and peeling due to external factors like prolonged water exposure, fake nails and nail polish, overusing the nails as tools, etc. Just massage a drop or two of oregano oil into your fingernails and cuticles.
- DIY your own mouthwash by mixing healthy gums oregano oil with water.
Tips and Notes: Oregano oil should be avoided during pregnancy, but culinary oregano leaf is considered fine.
When cooking with oregano, add fresh oregano toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavor. On the contrary, when cooking with dried oregano, it's best to add it at the beginning of the cooking time.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods
Web MD. Oregano.
Elgayyar M. Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils from Plants against Selected Pathogenic and Saprophytic Microorganisms. Journal of Food Protection, Number 7, July 2001, pp. 927-1084, pp. 1019-1024(6).
Georgetown University Medical Center. Oregano Oil May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Georgetown Researcher Finds. ScienceDaily. 2001 October 11.
Mark Force, William S. Sparks, Robert A. Ronzio. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytotherapy Research. 200 May 11. vol.14 issue3 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(200005)14:3<213::AID-PTR583>3.0.CO;2-U.