I keep hearing about the benefits of oregano. While researching this hearty and delicious herb, I came across many benefits. Friends were telling me I should “take oregano” to help heal my digestive issues. I wondered: Do I take a tincture, a pill, make an oregano infusion, or just add more dehydrated oregano to my food? I had so many questions! After consulting with my Herbalist and Acupuncturist, I realized the most common way of adding oregano to my healthcare plan was to use oregano oil gel capsules.
“Oregano has been popular ever since the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations used it for medicinal purposes. In fact, the name oregano comes from the Greek words “oros,” meaning mountain, and “ganos,” meaning joy or delight.” Healthline
Let’s review the compounds of oregano.
- Thymol – An antifungal that guards the immune system and defends against toxins.
- Carvacrol – This phenol can stop the growth of several different types of bacteria.
- Rosmarinic acid – This antioxidant will shield the body from damage produced by free radicals.
Making oregano essential is quite the process. It is made by air-drying the leaves and shoots of the plant. Once they’re dried, the oil is extracted and concentrated by steam distillation.
Benefits of Oregano
Oregano oil extract comes in a gel capsule and has many healing qualities. The oil is highly concentrated and is therefore much more potent than dried versions of the herb. The oil capsules will leave you with a fresh taste in your mouth as a bonus. One to three gel capsules daily are recommended for the following conditions.
Oregano helps to reduce the harmful effects of free radicals, which can lead to heart disease and cancer. It has four times the antioxidant levels of blueberries.
Several studies show that taking oregano oil each day can reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by several factors such as an imbalance of hormones, eating foods you are sensitive or allergic to, and stress.
According to the latest research on oregano, an essential oil can be helpful to fight against some antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is especially true for E. coli, which is common in respiratory and urinary tract infections.
An overgrowth of candida can cause gut problems as well as yeast infections. An abundance of candida may also cause Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Oregano oil may be a natural cure-all to reduce and eliminate candida.
Carvacrol and thymol are responsible for improving cholesterol levels. A study of 25 mL oregano oil given with each meal and dietary changes helped reduce LDL and raise HDL in 32 participants in a study of 48.
A few studies suggest that carvacrol, one of the components of oregano oil, may have cancer-fighting properties.
“In test-tube studies on cancer cells, carvacrol has demonstrated promising results against lung, liver, and breast cancer cells. It has been found to inhibit cell growth and cause cancer cell death.” Healthline
Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain may all be the symptoms of parasites or an imbalance of bacteria in the large and small intestine. Oregano oil can reduce or eradicate bacteria in the gut, which can improve mental clarity, quality of sleep, acne, and belly pain.
“One older study gave 600 mg of oregano oil to 14 people who had gut symptoms as a result of a parasite. After daily treatment for six weeks, all participants experienced a reduction in parasites, and 77% were cured.”
Carvacrolis the compound we can thank for oregano oil helping in weight loss efforts. There are several reasons for this. One is that it may reverse the events leading to the structure of fat cells. Combining daily oregano oil with a healthy diet of whole foods and exercise will put you on the right track for weight loss.
“In one study, mice were fed either a normal diet, high fat diet, or high-fat diet with carvacrol. Those given carvacrol alongside their high-fat diet gained significantly less weight and body fat than those just given a high-fat diet.”
How to use an oregano oil extract
Strengths vary between brands – do some comparing before deciding which company to purchase. Choose a reputable company like Gaia herbs for the purest form of oil. You can find oregano oil in gel capsules and tablets at health food stores or online at Vitacost or Lucky Vitamin.
Take with food
Oregano works best when taken with meals for better absorption. Most brands suggest 1-3 capsules a day.
Oregano essential oil
Essential oils should not be ingested unless under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner. Oregano essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil, and applied to the skin. One teaspoon of carrier oil per drop of essential oil is the standard.
If you are pregnant or nursing, oregano oil extract is not recommended for consumption unless under advisement from your care provider. If you are taking prescription medications, it is best to consult with your medical practitioner before adding this supplement to your daily regimen.
The bottom line
Overall, oregano appears to have several health benefits and may be useful as a natural treatment for some common health complaints. Oregano is higher in antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables, and it’s packed full of potent compounds called phenols. Oregano also contains compounds that may be effective against bacterial and fungal infections, inflammation, and pain, among other conditions.
Check out 6 Ways to Improve Digestion for more information to help with your gut symptoms. Hot tea after meals is soothing to your digestive system. Ginger, comfrey, fennel, and mint are excellent teas to have when you are wanting some extra support for your belly. Sipping tea slowly on the couch or sitting outside can be a lovely ritual after dinner. Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut contains soothing herbs and flowers that will rebalance your digestive tract.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Writer and Editor in Gainesville, FL
Owner of Walden Writes For Women