When you hear the word oregano the first word that comes to mind is probably pizza sauce. Although it’s true that no good pizza sauce can be complete with oregano, oregano is loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits. Oregano oil is particularly rich in these powerful compounds because it is much more concentrated than the raw oregano herb.
What Is Oregano Oil?
Oregano oil is made from the leaves and shoots of the oregano plant.
Oregano oil contains phenols, terpenes and terpenoids, which have powerful antioxidant properties and are responsible for its strong aroma and taste.
- Carvacrol - The most abundant phenol in oregano oil. It has been clinically shown to stop the growth of bacteria.
- Thymol: A natural antifungal that supports the immune system.
- Rosmarinic acid: A powerful antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative stress and free radicals.
In this article, I am going to talk about my 9 favourite benefits of oregano oil.
- Natural Antibiotic
Oregano oil naturally contains carvacrol which helps fight off harmful bacteria.
One mouse study found oil of oregano to be almost as effective as antibiotics against harmful bacteria. Research has also shown that oregano oil may be effective against certain types of bacteria that can become resistant to antibiotics such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and E. coli.
- May Help Lower Cholesterol
In one study, 32 people with high cholesterol were given oregano oil after each meal. After three months, those given the oregano oil had lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and higher “good” HDL cholesterol than those who just made diet and lifestyle changes.
- Powerful Antioxidant
Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals play a major role in aging and the development of certain diseases.
One study compared the antioxidant content of 39 commonly used herbs and found that oregano had the highest concentration of antioxidants. It was found that oregano contained 3–30 times the levels of antioxidants in the other herbs studied. Oregano has 42 times the antioxidant level of apples and four times that of blueberries.
- Helps Treat Yeast Infections
Candida is the most common cause of yeast infections worldwide. Studies show that oregano oil is effective against five different types of Candida, such as those that cause infections in the mouth and vagina. In fact, oregano oil was more effective than any of the other essential oil tested. Studies have also found that carvacrol, one of the main compounds of oregano oil, is very effective against oral Candida.
- May Improve Gut Health
Gut symptoms such as diarrhea, pain and bloating are commonly caused by gut parasites. Oil of oregano is clinically proven to be an effective treatment against gut parasites. One study found that daily treatment of oregano oil for six weeks completely cured 77% of patients with gut parasites. Participants also experienced a reduction in symptoms associated with the parasites.
Oregano oil may also help protect against leaky gut by reducing the number of E. coli bacteria in the gut.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is linked to a number of adverse health effects and diseases. Carvacrol, one of the naturally occurring compounds in oregano oil has been directly linked to reducing inflammation. One study applied carvacrol to the swollen paws and ears of mice. Carvacrol reduced paw swelling by 35–61% and ear swelling by 33–43%.
- Helps Relieve Pain
One study in mice found that oregano oil significantly reduced pain with effects similar to the commonly used painkiller morphine. The results were dose-dependent. That is, the more oregano oil the mice consumed, the less pain they appeared to feel.
- Cancer-Fighting Properties
A few studies have indicated that carvacrol, one of the naturally occurring compounds in oregano oil, may have cancer-fighting properties. Carvacrol has demonstrated promising results against lung, liver and breast cancer cells. It was found to inhibit cell growth and cause cancer cell death.
- May Assist with Weight Loss
One study compared a normal diet to a high-fat diet or a high-fat diet with carvacrol, a naturally occurring compound in oregano oil. Those given carvacrol alongside their high-fat diet gained significantly less weight and body fat compared to those just given a high-fat diet.
How to Use Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is sold in oil and capsule form. It is usually cheaper to buy oregano oil as an oil than in capsule form. Oregano oil has a very strong taste to it so most people prefer to purchase a flavoured oregano oil. Oil of oregano can be applied to the skin or taken by mouth.
- On the skin: For skin conditions or infections apply the oregano oil directly onto the affected area.
- Swallowed: If you're taking the oregano oil orally, you can put a few drops of it directly into your mouth or dilute in water or fruit juice.
If you're interested in taking oregano oil, but you're currently taking prescription medications, make sure to consult your doctor before you start.