Oregano- Herb With Proven Health Benefits

Oregano is considered as one amazing ingredient for many type of cuisine around the world. The uniqueness of this herb is not confined to food of one particular region; it is not widely used in almost all major areas of the world.

The strong flavor and aroma bring a subtle taste and fragrance to the dish. It also gives a gentle sweetness, which enhances the flavor even more. You can easily find oregano at all big leading stores. Most of the times it is available in dry form but you can also home grow your own fresh oregano.

In both ways, oregano has so many health benefits. Do you know that only one teaspoon of dry oregano powder has nearly 8% of your daily requirement for vitamin K? Next time you think oregano just as a seasoning, remember that it has a medicinal effect too.

This is not enough, oregano is also helpful to kill opportunistic bacteria that cause infection, and it reduces the inflammation and provides several health benefits that are even proven by studies.

In this article, you will know about some of these effects that oregano can provide to you.

Rich antioxidant source

Oregano has a high amount of antioxidants in it. Antioxidants are the same compounds that help against the free radical damage that takes place inside the body. If there are no antioxidants available to break these free radicals, they may cause serious problems like cancer and heart-related disease.

There are many test-tube studies on oregano that suggests oregano and its oil to be enriched with antioxidants. So even a small quantity of oregano and oregano oil will work for you.

Talking about oregano oil, it has high amounts of carvacrol and thymol in it. These two are the names of two antioxidants that particularly help to prevent the damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Oregano is not the only source of antioxidants. You may see that there are other high antioxidant foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. If you combine both in routine diet, it will help your body to utilize antioxidants from all sources to fulfill the requirement for a better health.

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Antibacterial property

Oregano is linked to having several compounds that give it an antibacterial effect. For example, there is one test-tube study that tells that oregano essential oil helps to block the growth of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two common strains of bacteria that are causative agents of infections in humans.

Similarly, there is another study that finds oregano effective against more than 20 strains of bacteria, many of which are infectious to humans. Many times the antimicrobial strength of oregano is compared with other herbs such as sage and thyme essential oils. By results of one study, oregano was found second most effective herb after thyme on bacterial strains.

For now, all the research on the antibacterial potential of oregano is limited to test-tube studies. There is a dire need for the results to be verified on humans so that they can use oregano as a medical treatment.

Antiviral property

Not just the bacteria, the protective role of oregano are spread to viral strains too. There are many test tube studies that tell about the antiviral potential of oregano and some of its compounds.

Like antibacterial benefits. The compounds of oregano i.e. carvacrol and thymol are also loaded with antiviral properties. It is verified by a test tube study in which carvacrol was found helpful to inactivate norovirus. It is a viral strain that causes infections such as diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain.

The efficacy of antiviral property of oregano can be further checked by reviewing the results of a study in which thymol and carvacrol inactivated 90% of the herpes simplex virus within just one hour of treatment.

There are many more studies that strengthen the antimicrobial strength of oregano. The promising results emphasize on additional research, preferably the human studies to use the medicinal effects of oregano in an appropriate way.

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Possible treatment for cancer

All antioxidant-rich food sources are associated with anti-cancer potential. Antioxidants are not just helpful against free radical damage, but also against cancer. They play role in cancer prevention.

Some of the researches have estimated oregano to be a potential anti-cancer compound, which needs specialized study. One of such studies was based on human colon cancer cells and the analysis with oregano extract. The results showed that it stopped the growth of cancer and killed them. Similarly, another study focused on carvacrol, one of the principal components in oregano to be helpful in a suppression of the growth and spread of colon cancer cells.

One thing is common in all these studies that all of them were based on test tubes. Also, they used high amounts of the herb oregano and its compounds. That much high dose may not be suitable for human use if you want to try oregano by yourself.

A study on humans may consider using typical doses are needed to determine its effects. It is not recommended to replicate the quantity used in these studies to be self-experimented. The only beneficial dose of oregano is which you add in your food recipes. Do not ingest oregano on your own.

Anti-inflammatory potential

Inflammation is not a disease but a normal immune response of the body. It occurs as an indication of illness or injury. If this inflammation spreads and becomes chronic, it is a sign of a severe health problem or diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.

Being rich in antioxidants, oregano is helpful to neutralize the free radicals that particularly cause inflammation inside the body. The compounds like carvacrol are proven to be anti-inflammatory in nature.

A research study showed that a mixture of essential oils of thyme and oregano are effective to reduce the number of inflammatory markers in mice with colitis, and also on an inflamed colon. Like previously mentioned, the studies use a high amount of oregano, which is not suitable for casual use. There are more studies required to determine the standard dosage of oregano to achieve anti-inflammatory relief.

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You can easily use oregano!

If you think that you cannot use oregano in routine and there is absolutely no way to use it, here is a thing for you.

Majority of the people consider oregano to be an ingredient for pizza, pasta or other similar dishes. But what you don’t know about oregano is its versatile roles. You can add oregano whole leaves into other green leaves that you are using to make a salad.

You can sprinkle the finely chopped leaves along with green chilies on your soup or stew recipes. Make your own fresh salad dressing, seasoning for meat or homemade sauce when you have fresh oregano available. These are only a few ways to use oregano in routine, if you search more, there would be hundreds of dishes that use oregano in it.

Final thoughts

Oregano is an herb that gives a good, refreshing taste to your food recipes. That’s not all, the health benefits of oregano are not even known to general public. Oregano is abundant in antioxidant that helps the body in many ways.

Oregano helps to boost immunity by fighting against free radical damage, it helps to reduce the inflammation and also possess possible anti-cancer potential. It is antimicrobial and has significant effects on bacteria and virus both.

However, this research is only limited to test-tube and animal studies. More research is required to define its possible benefits for humans. Oregano can be added to so many recipes in the dry and fresh form both. Avoid using a high quantity of it for any therapeutic reason without consulting your doctor.