Spice Rack Remedies
Healing Qualities of Oregano
Oregano is an important culinary and medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. Oregano, also known as “wild marjoram” in many parts of Europe, belongs to the mint family and is closely related to the herb sweet marjoram.
Oregano leaf is popular in Mediterranean cuisine and for adding flavour to meats and tomato sauces. Whereas, the oils extracted from oregano have a long medicinal history with amazing health benefits. Oregano oil is a powerful antioxidant, as well offers anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial support. Oregano inhibits inflammation, reducing tissue swelling associated with inflammatory conditions, as well has an analgesic effect in reducing the symptoms of pain. Oregano has also shown to be effective in destroying a variety of different cancer cells.
An active ingredient in oregano called rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant, four times more potent than blueberries. Antioxidants support the immune system by protecting the body against environmental damage (free radicals), through encouraging the production of bacteria-destroying white blood cells and by protecting enzymes that repair DNA, allowing the body to rejuvenate itself. Antioxidants block free radical oxidative damage to cells and DNA that causes aging and can lead to a variety of diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.
The essential oils from oregano, carvacrol and thymol, provide such powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial support that they are effective in destroying salmonella, e. Coli, listeria and even MRSA staphylococcus, known as the “flesh eating desease”. The Journal of Medical Microbiology in 2007 published a facinating study, “Effects of oregano, carvacrol and thymol on Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms.”, that demonstrates the promising inhibiting effects the essential oils has on staph infections.
Oregano’s anti-inflammatory properties come from a substance called beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), which has been found to inhibit inflammation. A study conducted by Swiss researchers at the University of Bonn and the ETH Zurich concluded that the active ingredient E-BCP reduced inflammatory swelling significantly which also reduced pain. The experiments also found E-BCP effective in preventing bone degeneration associated to osteoporosis.
The essential oil carvacrol found in oregano has also been studied heavily for its cancer preventing properties. Research has shown that carvacrol kills cancer cells and protects against a variety of different cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, leukaemia and prostate cancer.
Oregano oil is a great addition to the natural medicine chest for so many reasons, just as fresh or dried oregano is a must in the spice rack. Enjoy the unique flavour and aroma of oregano in your next mediterranean recipe or tomato-based dish and appreciate the benefits of this powerful herb.
Written by: J. Marshall
- Study published through the US National library of Medicine National Institute of Health in 2011. Anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of carvacrol on human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG-2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261448/
- Study published through the US National library of Medicine National Institute of Health in 2003. Effects of Carvacrol on a Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Cell Line, A549. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3449592/
- Journal of Medical Microbiology 2007. Effects of oregano, carvacrol and thymol on Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. http://www.microbiologyresearch.org/docserver/fulltext/jmm/56/4/519.pdf?expires=1536925577&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=677329C98EFFF8FB4ADD088548877394
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- Dr. Axe: Food Is Medicine / Oregano Oil Benefits Superior to Prescription Antibiotics: https://draxe.com/oregano-oil-benefits-superior-prescription-antibiotics/
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- The Journal of Nutrition / Several Culinary and Medicinal Herbs Are Important Sources of Dietary Antioxidants: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/5/1286.abstract
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- Natural Health 365: Scientific Solutions and Proven Results / Oil of Oregano Eliminates Inflammation and Pain: http://www.naturalhealth365.com/oregano.html/