Oregano oil is a natural supplement that is commonly used to treat a variety of health conditions. It is made from the leaves of the oregano plant and is rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties.
The botanical name of oregano is Origanum vulgare. It is traditionally taken alongside a meal as a digestive aid.
The active ingredient, thymol, is structurally similar to menthol, which relaxes the throat and stomach soft tissues . By reducing the growth of microbes and decreasing the decomposition of fatty acids, which occurs when food products like meat go bad, Oreganum vulgare oil extends the shelf life of food products.
In human studies, neither the leaf form nor the oil form of Oreganum vulgare has been shown to be effective as a supplement. Antioxidant properties of the oil seem comparable to those of vitamin C ex vivo (outside the body). It is unclear how origanum vulgare hinders bacterial replication, but further research is needed.
There is limited human evidence that oregano oil is effective in warding off infection and boosting the immune system due to its antibacterial properties. A manufacturer of oregano oil funded the lone study that found substantial efficacy against intestinal infection.
A brief history of oregano
Throughout history, oregano has been used as a spice and flavoring agent in Spanish, Mexican, and Italian cuisine. Originally, it served as a digestive and circulatory stimulant. In perfumery, it has been used to scent soaps and lotions due to its volatile oil contents.
Oregano has long been known for its antiseptic properties, which have been recognized since ancient times . It was in the early 1900s that attempts were made to characterise these properties in the laboratory.
An infusion of the fresh herb may be beneficial for treating upset stomachs, indigestion, headaches, colic, nervous complaints, coughs, and other respiratory complaints. It has also been used to prevent seasickness through an infusion of the flowers.
Externally, the oil has been used in liniments and lotions to relieve toothaches. Additionally, it is used as an anti-ant repellent.
Many of the characteristics of the essential oil can be attributed to the monoterpenoid phenols carvacrol and thymol, as well as to p-cymene and terpinene. Carvacrol is the major constituent of the essential oils of all the species considered oregano.
Over 70 per cent of the oil may be composed of phenolic compounds. The glandular hairs of O vulgare produce monoterpenoids through biosynthesis pathways. Herbivores, such as snails, may be deterred from feeding on the plant by its essential oil.
Oregano also contains oleanolic and ursolic acids; flavonoids and hydroquinones; caffeic, rosmarinic, and lithospermic acids; tannins; and phenolic glycosides. Rats and humans have been studied for the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of oregano phenolics.
Dosage and precautions
There is no clinical evidence to support specific therapeutic doses of oregano. However, due to its wide use in foods, it has been designated GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status by the FDA. In a small study, 200 mg/day emulsified O. vulgare oil was administered for six weeks.
The only study on using oil of oregano for oral supplementation used a dose of 600mg. To make tea, steep 15g of oregano leaves in 250mL of water.
The tea is traditionally used to aid digestion, while the oil has antibacterial properties that may boost the immune system. Both the tea and oil is usually supplemented once a day.
The recommended dosage of oregano oil varies dependent on the particular condition being addressed and the individual’s age and health status. It is advisable to start with a low dosage and gradually increase as tolerated. It is essential to follow the product label instructions and consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
It is possible to use oregano oil topically or orally. When taken orally, it can be consumed as a capsule, mixed with water or juice, or added to food. When applied topically, it can be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil and applied to the skin .
There are a few precautions to consider when using oregano oil. It can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, heartburn, and bloating in some individuals.
It may also interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs. If you have a medical condition or are taking any medication, you should consult a healthcare provider before using oregano oil.
Processes and administration
Oregano oil may be used in other ways even though oral use is not recommended long-term. Make a lotion with it, or diffuse it with an EO diffuser.
As a result of its antimicrobial properties, oil of oregano is also a great household cleaner. The following recipe for an all-purpose surface cleaner is provided by Dr. Joseph Mercola:
Combine four drops of oregano oil with 10 drops of lemon oil and a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and then add to a bucket of water. Use this mixture to wipe and clean surfaces.
Oregano oil can be taken orally in the following ways:
Add one sip of water to your mouth and hold it in the back of your throat by tipping your head back. Open your mouth and squeeze 2 to 3 drops of the oil into the water. Swallow. Follow with a few gulps of fresh water.
Put the oil into a gelatin capsule just before consuming.
Mix one to two drops with a 1/4 teaspoon of carrier oil (olive or coconut) . Hold the mixture under your tongue for a few minutes. Spit it out and rinse your mouth. Do this four or more times daily.
There’s one thing to always remember: it is best to avoid getting pure oil on your lips or skin in any of these situations.
Information on safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is limited. GRAS status when used as food. Ingestion in excess of amounts found in food should be avoided because safety and efficacy are unproven. Some studies indicate hormonal effects.
Oregano oil is a natural supplement that has a wide range of potential health benefits. It is crucial to follow the recommended dosage and to consult with a healthcare provider before starting use.