While oregano can typically be found on top of pizza or in pasta sauce, the popular herb can surprisingly be used medicinally too. When the fragrant herb is concentrated into an oil, its antioxidants and powerful compounds work to provide several proven health benefits.
Oregano oil is an effective natural antibiotic and antifungal agent, and it may help you lose weight and even improve your gut health.
So, just what is oregano oil and what are its uses, benefits, and side effects? We’ve sorted through the ins and outs of this herb so you can learn more about it before adding it to your daily diet.
What is the Oil of Oregano?
Oregano, also known as Origanum vulgare, has been used for centuries as a culinary spice. This flowering plant is from the same family as mint and can be found growing all over the world.
This herb was first introduced to the world of health and wellness by Greek and Roman civilizations and has been used medicinally and culinarily ever since.
In order to transform the oregano into an oil extract, several extraction methods use the compounds such as carbon dioxide and alcohol that lie within the herb. Oregano oil extract is widely available as a supplement that can be found in pill or capsule form.
There are three main compounds of oregano that make it beneficial for human consumption: phenols, terpenes, and terpenoids.
Not only do these compounds contribute to the herb’s fragrance, but they also have powerful antioxidant properties that have been shown to be antifungal, stop the growth of bacteria, and protect against damage caused by free radicals.
From fighting bacteria to promoting weight loss, there are a plethora of benefits that come with the consumption of the oil of oregano. These benefits include:
Benefits when taken orally:
- Protects the body from damage caused by free radicals, due to its antioxidants.
- Could help treat yeast infections, due to the carvacrol that it contains.
- May improve gut health
- May have anti-inflammatory properties, also due to its carvacrol component.
- Could help relieve pain, due to its painkilling properties.
Benefits when applied topically:
- Can be used as an insect repellent
- Helps heal acne, due to its antibacterial properties.
- Helps promote hair growth
- Helps prevent dandruff
When combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, this herb may have some impressive benefits for your health.
Oregano oil is generally safe when taken orally or applied topically. If one was to experience any side effects at all, it’s likely it would only be a mild stomach upset.
If you’re allergic to plants in the Lamiaceae family, be sure to use oregano oil with caution as it might cause an allergic reaction.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid using oregano oil as it is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth. All in all, it’s recommended that you speak with a healthcare professional before adding this herb’s oil to your daily routine in order to avoid any possible complications.
How to Take Oil of Oregano
Not only are there many benefits that come with oregano oil, but it’s also a super versatile herb that can be used in multiple ways. These methods for its use include:
- Capsule or tablet form
- Used as an essential oil for the skin
- Added to food after cooking for consumption
- Applied to scalp for hair care
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is used topically and applied to the skin to treat conditions like acne or psoriasis. Oregano essential oil is made by drying the leaves and shoots of the plant. After they’re dried, the oil becomes concentrated through a process called steam distillation. Note that no essential oil should be ingested.
Oregano Oil Extract
On the other hand, Oregano oil extract is produced by several extraction methods using carbon dioxide and alcohol, and can be taken orally.
The oil of oregano can be found in most health food shops or online. Before use, it’s important to read the directions on any oregano oil product label as the strength of oregano supplements can vary.
It’s easy to reap the benefits of oregano oil, as there are many methods of its consumption. If you are thinking about using oregano oil topically or orally, you should consult with your doctor first. They will be able to provide more information on whether or not this supplement would be beneficial for you.
Further, when purchasing any oregano oil products, look to the packaging labels for more information. You may want to look out for the following.
- What, if any, government labels the package has to determine the level of regulation and testing the product underwent
- Other ingredients in the product that you could be sensitive to
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.