Immune | August 26, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
You might know oregano as that aromatic herbs so useful in the kitchen especially for delicious pasta or meat dishes, but did you know that the oil extracted from the oregano herb, Origanum vulgare, has medicinal properties.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare), is a hardy perennial herb from the mint (Lamiaceae) family, originally from Europe, Asia and North Africa, but grown in many areas of the world now. The ancient Romans and Greeks revered this plant for its medicinal purposes.
There are over 40 species of oregano but the plant from the Mediterranean region has been found to be the most therapeutic. Good things come from the Mediterranean!
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The parts used are the oregano shoots and leaves with the oil being extracted through steam distillation.
Oregano oil contains many phytochemicals that have been studied for their health benefits. Some of these include:
Carvacrol — a monoterpenoid phenol giving oregano its warm pungent odour.
Medicinal actions include: antimicrobial, antitumor, antimutagenic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. In other words - good for preventing bacteria, tumors, cancer, pain, inflammation and parasites.
Carvacrol is considered one of the most active components of oregano oil.
Thymol — is a monoterpenoid phenol. It is a natural fungicide and with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties have made it a possible treatment of allergic asthma.
A study found when rats were fed a high fat diet and treated with thymol there was a significantly decreased body weight gain, visceral fat-pad weights, lipids, ALT, AST, LDH, BUN, glucose, insulin, and leptin levels” . It was also shown thymol was able to increase anti-oxidant levels and decrease oxidation of blood lipids. In other words helping with fat loss and protecting the body from oxidation. It helps boost your immune system, and repels toxins and even supports healing tissue.
Terpenes — are hydrocarbons and major constituents of essential oils. Terpenes give flavour and aroma. There are many types of terpenes with differing properties. They are used by plants in nature for protection against predators.
Rosmarinic acid — a chemical compound found in many plants that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Naringin —Is a flavonoid glycoside and responsible for the bitter taste in some foods. You might be familiar with this when you eat grapefruit. Naringin has been found to exerts a variety of pharmacological effects such as antioxidant activity, blood lipid-lowering and anticarcinogenic activity. Think cholesterol and cancer protection.
Beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP) — a constituent of many essential oils, offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
As you can note from the above constituents of Oregano oil it can offer numerous health benefits for us. Some of its therapeutic uses might include:
Fungal Infections such as tinea, athletes’ foot, thrush and oral candida.
Viruses. Oregano oil shows anti-viral activity – beneficial in the treatment of cold sores and other herpes viruses.
Urinary tract infections - due to its antibacterial properties.
Support Immunity. Oregano oil can help increase white blood cells to enhance the immune system.
Arthritis pain. The carvacrol component of oregano oil has an anodyne action - pain relief.
Inflammation is a non-specific physiological response to environmental stressors such as infectious microorganisms, chemical agents, physical injuries and many diseases. The process of inflammation is to seek and destroy the offending agent and repair the damaged tissue or organ. In other words, many things that happen to the body can cause inflammation, and inflammation can be good things. But too much inflammation, or on-going inflammation, or inflammation caused by pathogens needs to be reduced. This is where Oregano oil can help as an anti-inflammatory.
Antioxidant – Antioxidants reduce free radical damage in the body. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that cause damage to the cells in the body. This can lead to an impaired immune system, infections, and is associated with degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are produced in the metabolic process of digestion. Free radicals are also generated by exposure to radiation, rancid oils (fried foods), food additives (colour, preservatives, flavours, sugars), chemicals (pesticides, nitrates added to cured meats) heavy metal pollutants, exposure to UV rays from the sun and smoking.
Digestion. Oregano oil can eliminate parasites, bacteria and fungal infections of the gastrointestinal system as well as supporting bile production. Use it against SIBO (small intestinal bacterial over-growth), oral candida, parasitic infection – especially when travelling.
Bacterial Infections. Oregano oil is considered a natural antibiotic so useful for any infections where bacteria is involved, particularly respiratory infections such as those of the nose and throat, but also skin infections.
MRSA. Hospital super bugs are notoriously hard to kill. A number of essential oils have been found to have the capacity to break down the cell wall of bacteria – basically killing them.
Antitumor activity. Tumours are enormously complex and variable serious diseases. Some species of Oregano oil have demonstrated antitumor activity and have cytotoxic activity against several tumour cell lines.
Antidiabetic. Oregano oil was found to delay the development of diabetic complications and correct metabolic abnormalities due to its hypoglycaemic properties.
Oregano oil is a product that comes as an oil, soft capsule or in with other ingredients. It is very strong so may come diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil.
Topical Use. Oregano oil can be applied to the skin, but if using a concentrated form, it should be diluted in a carrier oil before applying. Apply to acne, boils and other skin infections.
Inhalation. Add a few drops of Oregano oil to a vaporizer and inhale the steam to kill upper respiratory bacteria and fungal infections, and reduce inflammation. Beneficial also for asthma and bronchitis.
Digestion. Capsules work best for concentrated action in the digestive system when targeting parasites, candida or bacteria, but the diluted oil can be used in the mouth for oral candida and mouth or throat infections.
It is important to follow the proper use and guidelines when using oregano oil as it is very potent – a little goes a long way. People should avoid using for long periods of time – no more that several weeks at a time.
Allergic reactions. Oregano oil may cause allergic reactions especially if you are allergic to any other plants of the Lamiaceae family, such as mint, sage, basil, and lavender. The diluted oil can still cause a rash even if you are not allergic.
Research has not been done on Oregano oil in pregnancy, breastfeeding and children so should not be used by people in this population.
Antioxidant, Antibacterial, and Cytotoxic Activities of the Ethanolic Origanum vulgare Extract and Its Major Constituents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804097/
Encapsulation of carvacrol, a monoterpene present in the essential oil of oregano, with β-cyclodextrin, improves the pharmacological response on cancer pain experimental protocols. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25557507
Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and carvacrol, and synergy of carvacrol and erythromycin, against clinical, erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococci https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4347498/
Thymol attenuates allergic airway inflammation in ovalbumin (OVA)-induced mouse asthma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24785965?dopt=Abstract
Selected Antimicrobial Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346404/
Properties and Applications of Plants of Origanum Sp. Genus