Oregano Oil – The Warrior Essential Oil
Have you wondered how plants protect themselves from harmful pathogens? Why is that some plants are more resistant to infections, while others are vulnerable?
Never thought about it? No worries!
Some herbs and plants have specific ingredients that help rebel against bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. This is why some plants are more resistant to attack from pathogens than others.
When these herbs are consumed by humans, the same benefits are passed on, resulting in better immune power.
Let’s introduce one such powerful herb, oregano. Yes! The same herb you see in your favorite Italian dish. When this herb is concentrated into an essential oil, it becomes a potent source of powerful compounds that offer many health benefits. It is this concentrated oil that results in powerful health effects.
What is oregano and oregano essential oil?
Oregano is a fragrant herb (Origanum vulgare) that belongs to the mint family. Historically, it was used as a precious commodity in trade and has a long record of use in traditional medicine. It is primarily used to heal wounds, treat colds, relieve upset stomach, and act as a digestive aid.
One pound of oregano essential oil is a thousand times the concentrated form of the dried leaves.
The oregano essential oil is prepared from the leaves and shoots of the oregano herb. After cleaning, the herb is air-dried, and the oil is extracted by steam distillation. This results in a concentrated oil that is rich in medicinal value. One pound of oregano essential oil is a thousand times the concentrated form of the dried leaves.
The resulting product contains powerful antioxidants like terpenes, terpenoids, and phenols.
What makes oregano oil so effective?
This simple, lovely herb has more to offer than you can imagine. All of its profound health effects come from the active compounds in oregano herb – terpenes and phenols. These chemicals are responsible for its strong antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of oregano oil.
Here is a quick overview of its chief active ingredients.
- Carvacrol: This is the most predominant phenol compound present in oregano oil. It is referenced in many studies for its wide-spectrum antibacterial effects. Researchers found that carvacrol acted on the structure of the bacterial cell and inhibited its growth resulting in anti-bacterial effects.1 Carvacrol has shown potential in many areas, from acting as an anticancer agent to aiding in weight loss.
- Thymol: Thymol exhibits potent antifungal activity against the candida species and offers robust immune support.2 Thymol is also known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and local anesthetic properties.3
- Rosmarinic acid: It is a powerful antioxidant and immuno-modulator. An immuno-modulator can induce, amplify or attenuate the role of the immune system according to the goal of the therapy. Studies show that rosmarinic acid is especially useful in treating seasonal allergies.4
The above list of active ingredients underscores oregano oil's intense antibiotic properties. It is due to this action it is considered as a safe alternative to prescription antibiotics.
If you are already impressed with oregano oil's power, be advised, we’ve just scratched the surface on the benefits! Here are more science-backed details on the benefits of oregano oil to your body. You'll be amazed at what this fragrant oil can offer!
Benefits of Oregano Oil
Natural antibiotic effect: If you are interested in natural ways to fight cold and bacterial infections, oregano oil is your answer!
Many studies suggest that oregano oil stands out as one of the best in terms of safety and efficacy in fighting bacterial infections. Researchers found that oregano oil damaged the bacteria's cell walls and membranes, and inflicted disruption of the internal structure of the bacterial cells.6
Oregano oil's secret weapon? Carvacrol, the active compound that is abundant in the herb. Carvacrol also disturbed the production of RNA protein, which is crucial for replicating bacteria, thus resulting in an effective antibacterial activity.
Another interesting finding was that oregano oil was capable of biofilm-killing. A biofilm forms when bacterial cells organize themselves in firm adherence to surfaces. While most antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections do an inefficient job of breaking the biofilms apart, oregano oil was found to be effective.
Fights free radicals: Oregano is a powerful antioxidant that can help combat the cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radical damage is known to play a role in anything from aging to diabetes, degenerative diseases to cancer, and more.
Antioxidants help to keep antioxidants in check, and oregano is one the strongest herbal antioxidants available thanks to its Rosmarinic acid. It's been found that oregano contains up to 30 times the levels of antioxidants found in the other herbs, 42 times the antioxidant level of apples, and even more than double that of dark chocolate.
Aids better digestion: The active compounds in oregano oil promote better digestion by relaxing the digestive tract muscles. The antioxidant, thymol in oregano oil helps relax the soft tissue of the stomach and throat.
This helps to ease conditions like heartburn, bloating, and other disturbances that follow a meal. Its anti-bacterial effect helps to fight yeast overgrowth.
It is also a natural treatment for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth); a common digestive issue that causes bloating, gas, and intolerance to carb-rich food.
Because it promotes better digestion and gut health, it indirectly promotes better nutrient absorption in the body, which is crucial for nourishing the cells in your body and to energize you. In a study of 104 patients with SIBO found that herbal therapy (includes oregano oil) was as effective as antibiotics.
Besides, researchers found that herbal therapy was more effective in improving the symptoms than the conventional antibiotic rifaximin.9
May treat yeast infections: Lab studies on oregano's effect on yeast infections found that the essential oil was effective against five types of Candida species. Candida species are part of the fungal family and are types of yeast that cause infections in humans.
Oregano was found to be fight infections in the mouth ( thrush) and vagina more effectively.7,8 Oregano could potentially be a better alternative to treat yeast infections.
May help treat Athlete's foot: A study on the effect of essential oils, heat, and salt on the Athlete's foot found robust antifungal activity.
Researchers found that oregano oil was the most powerful in its fungicidal effects compared to 11 essential oils used for treating Athlete's foot.6
Oregano oil has many antibiotic effects, after all, there are more than 800 studies that reference this essential oil in the scientific literature. In addition to Oregano oils antibiotic effects, it also has many other health benefits.
Helps fight inflammation: Oregano contains E-BCP (beta-caryophyllene), which works against inflammation. It is also a type of dietary cannabinoid, that explains its ability to reduce pain in the site.10
Inflammation is linked to many degenerative conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and gut issues. Lowering inflammation with the right kind of food and natural remedies like oregano could significantly reduce such conditions.
Local pain reliever: Laboratory studies and animal studies have shown that oregano oil is helpful as a local anesthetic and pain reliever. Oregano's carvacrol content was suggested to be the reason for pain relief.11
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may also contribute to oregano's ability to offer pain relief.
How to use oregano oil?
Skin: Oregano oil is used as a topical application (in ointments, face masks, body lotions) for treating acne, as a topical pain reliever, to protect minor wounds from infection, treating fungal infections, and even used as an insect repellent.
Just 3 drops in a small amount of carrier oil is the right way to use it for topical application.
Aromatherapy: It is used in diffusers as part of aromatherapy, potentially reducing cold and cough symptoms, boosting immunity, and helping the body relax and promote sleep.
Oral use: 100% therapeutic grade oregano oil is also taken internally for its many benefits: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic agent, digestion aid, and even as a potential aid in weight loss.
You can find it as 100 percent pure, unfiltered oil. Please choose certified USDA organic to avoid unnecessary additives.
It is also available as soft gels or capsules.
Given all its beneficial properties, long-term use of oregano oil is not recommended. It is a good idea to take short breaks from using this powerful oil.
If you have specific health conditions, such as pregnancy or lactating, avoid using oregano oil. Oregano oil is also found to interfere with iron absorption, so if you have an iron deficiency, avoid oregano.
Talk to your health care provider or holistic health practitioner about using oregano oil if you have conditions like auto-immune disorders. Exercise caution and use only as instructed by your provider or functional medicine expert.
Some people may experience allergic reactions or nausea; if this happens, stop using the oil right away.
In summary, oregano oil is a must-have in your medicine cabinet. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power, the ability to fight infection and functions as a natural antibiotic allows a wide variety of use for some common health complaints.
When you buy oregano oil or any essential oil for that matter, always choose USDA certified organic over others for safety and efficacy.
I hope this post left you with useful information on oregano oil. At the end of the day, you, as a consumer hold the power to choose what you want to put in your body. Make informed decisions, and read the product label before you make a choice.
- Nostro A, Papalia T. Antimicrobial activity of carvacrol: current progress and future prospective. Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Dicov. 2012;7(1):28-35. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22044355/
- Castro R, Souza T, Bezerra L, et al. Antifungal activity and mode of action of thymol and its synergism with nystatin against candidia species involved with infections in the oral cavity: an in vitro study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015:15(417)
- Marchese A, Orhan E, Daglia M, et al. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of thymol: a brief review of the literature. Food Chemistry. 2016;210(1):402-414.
- Friedman T. The effect of rosmarinic acid on immunological and neurological systems: a basic science and clinical review. Journal of Restorative Medicine. 2015;4(1):50-59.
- Lu M, Dai T, Murray C, et al. Bacterial property of oregano oil against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates. Front Microbiol. 2018;9(2329).
- Shigeharu Inouye, Katsuhisa Uchida, et al. Combined effect of heat, essential oils and salt on fungicidal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a foot bath. Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology. 2007;48(1):27-36. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17287720/
- Pozzatti P, Scheid L, Spader T, et al. In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible candida SPP. Can J Microbiol. 2008;54(11):950-956.
- Marcos-Arias C, Eraso E, Madariaga L, et al. In vitro activities of natural products against oral candida isolates from denture wearers. 2011.
- Chedid V, Dhalla S, Clarke J, et al. Herbal therapy is equivalent to rifaximin for the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014;3(3):16-24.
- Gertsch J, Leonti M, Raduner S, et al. Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008;105(26):9099-9104.
- Aydin S, Ozturk Y, Beis R, et al. Investigation of origanum onites, sideritis congesta and satureja cuneifolia essential oils for analgesic activity. Phytotherapy Research. 1996;10(4).