Oregano at a Glance
Oregano (Origanum vulgare), a member of the mint family, is native to Asia and the Mediterranean. Its name is derived from the Greek words “oros,” meaning mountain, and “ganos,” meaning joy. This fragrant herb is used extensively in cooking and is typically dried or extracted through steam distillation for medicinal purposes.
Oregano is packed with antioxidants and displays a powerful ability to support the body's innate resistance to pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungus. It's theorized that carvacrol, its active chemical component, may work by inhibiting the growth of yeast and several bacteria strains.
In alternative medicine, oregano is popular for infections, including parasites and candida albicans (yeast). It's also used for respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract issues that are microbial in nature.
If you're considering oregano oil for internal use, please speak with your physician. If using externally, discontinue use if irritation occurs.
According to studies done by Georgetown University Medical Center:
Oil from the common herb oregano may be an effective treatment against dangerous, and sometimes drug-resistant bacteria, a Georgetown researcher has found. Two studies have shown oregano oil—and, in particular, carvacrol, one of oregano’s chemical components—appears to reduce infection as effectively as traditional antibiotics.
A study reported in the June 27, 2011, issue of "Natural Product Research" found that oregano oil shows strong antifungal effects against two common food-borne fungi. Applying oregano oil to the surface of fermented, dry-cured sausages reduces the growth of mold, says a study published in the September 2011 issue of the journal "Meat Science."