Oil of Oregano
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on December 9, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
By now you all know that I consider myself to exemplify perfect health: I am happy and healthy in mind, body and soul. Alright, alright, nobody’s perfect… I have my sometimes unhealthy moments (licorice addiction admitted). Still, I am devoted to transmuting my holiest of all healthy living tips to you, dear readers!
Now that the cold and flu season is upon us, I feel it time to impress upon you one of the most important supplements to stock in our medicine chests: Oil of oregano. Whenever I feel the slightest bit less than my normal 110%, I take a dose – and within a few hours I am back to center!
Oil of oregano is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful weapons in the fight against illness. Most of us know the herb oregano, most famous in its culinary use by the Mediterranean cultures. Its taste can be described as hearty and assertive with a peppery bite and a zing (kind of like my favorite man! But I digress), and blends well with garlic and sauces in dips. Sun exposure intensifies its flavor, and varieties can be found from Greece (more moderate) to Mexico (ole!).
Oregano, a member of the mint family, has special uses in plant medicine. Its name means “joy of the mountains”, and for centuries it has been found growing on mountain-sides under the sun. The ancient Greeks used to crown newlyweds with wreaths of the herb, and adorn graves with sprigs. Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries (as stated in research published in as issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). No wonder Greek gods and goddesses were immortal!
To my point, the oil extracted from oregano has now proven to be effective in treating some of the most anti-biotic resistant diseases. At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., physiology professor Harry Preuss conducted a 2001 study on behalf of an herbal remedy company that showed that oil of oregano protected against certain fungi and the potentially deadly staphylococcus bacteria in tests on a small sample of mice. He also said that oil of oregano can kill some strains of tuberculosis in the petri dish, as well as the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers.
Most people I know take a drop or two under the tongue, or in water. Holy oil of oregan-ow! Does that stuff burn! I prefer oil of oregano in capsules, which are so much easier to take.
And use it in the environment around you: I put it into my aromatherapy burner, and add it to my household cleaners – doorknobs, light switches and telephones all get a weekly wipe!
*A few notes: oil of oregano is incredibly antibacterial, which means it kills all bacteria – bad AND good. Don’t wipe your store of healthy bacteria out – supplement with probiotics (read my article HERE). Consult a physician or naturopath for more information! And keep out of reach of kids – it is way too strong for children under 5.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan