oregano oil benefits
Due to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, the health benefits of oregano oil include the following.

Oregano oil is extracted from the herb Origanum vulgare.

  • Research suggests that oregano has potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
  • Oregano oil has been used since 2,500 years back and is still being used in traditional medicine across the globe, especially to treat cold and flu.

Oregano oil primarily contains two active compounds carvacrol, which is antibacterial, and thymol, which has antifungal properties.

Oregano leaves contain compounds, such as phenols, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid, triterpenes, and oleanolic acid, which have antioxidant properties. However, sufficient scientific evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of using oregano to treat and cure any medical condition is not present.

9 health benefits of oregano oil

The 9 health benefits of oregano oil include:

  1. Treats infections:
    • Carvacrol in oregano oil has antibacterial properties, which studies note that it is effective against most common infection-causing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis.
    • Thymol is another compound in oregano oil that has antifungal properties, and it is quite effective against Candida fungal infections, such as:
      • Oral thrush
      • Athlete’s foot
      • Infected toenails and fingernails
      • Yeast infections
  2. Antioxidants and anticancer:
  3. Promotes digestion:
    • Oregano oil is noted to have positive effects on the digestive system, which aids in the secretion of gastric juices required for digestion, increases absorption of essential nutrients, and secretes enzymes that improve digestion.
  4. Regulates menstruation:
  5. Weight loss:
    • Oregon oil can help reduce weight since carvacrol has been found to interfere with the fat accumulation process in the body, which eventually leads to weight loss.
  6. Wound healing and pain reliever:
    • Oregano oil is noted to be an effective painkiller and promotes wound healing. 
    • Diluted oregano oil can be applied topically to wounds because it helps prevent infections and promotes wound healing.
  7. Anti-parasitic and insect repellent:
    • Application of oregano oil on the skin or using it as a spray acts as a repellent to various insects, such as:
    • Ingestion of oregano oil may help eliminate parasites that live inside the body, which feed on nutrition, flesh, or blood, making people sick, including:
      • Roundworms
      • Tapeworms
  8. Helps lower cholesterol:
    • Studies have shown that participants given oregano oil for 3 months had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) cholesterol.
    • The cholesterol-lowering effect of the oil is thought to be caused by the phenols carvacrol and thymol.
  9. Reduces inflammation:
    • Studies have shown that the compound carvacrol has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties in animal models and in vitro studies.
    • More tests are needed on humans to determine the correct and safe dosage.
Though oregano oil is noted to have several health benefits, detailed studies are required for additional evidence that supports all claims.

How do you use oregano oil?

Oregano oil is available in various forms, such as:

  • Oregano Tincture: The active compounds of oregano oil are preserved by mixing in alcohol, and this is taken orally to treat diseases.
  • Oregano Essential oil: This is a much more concentrated form of oregano oil, which is intended for use in aromatherapy and should never be taken orally. A few drops of oregano essential oil can be added to a diffuser or a bowl of hot water to get the fresh aroma, or a few drops of it could be added to any regular oil, such as coconut oil, and applied to the skin.
  • Oregano Capsules: Capsules of oregano oil are taken orally, but one should never take more than the intended dosage, which is on the label.

Consult your doctor before using oregano supplements. Always start taking oregano oil in smaller doses and gradually increase the dosage depending on how your body is reacting.

Oregano oil may increase the buildup of certain compounds in the body. So, stop taking it for a week after taking it for three weeks.

What are the side effects associated with the use of oregano oil?

The potential side effects of using oregano oil include:

  • Using oregano oil in large quantities may irritate the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Oregano oil acts as an emmenagogue, and when taken in high doses, it may lead to miscarriage in pregnant women. It may affect pregnancy by influencing hormonal secretions. So, pregnant women must avoid using it.
  • If a person is allergic to basil, mint, lavender, or sage, they may be allergic to oregano. It is recommended to do a patch test on the skin to check for any allergic reactions.
  • Oregano oil may cause:

Stop using oregano oil if there is an onset of allergic reactions and seek medical help.

It is always recommended to consult with a professional before using herbs and other herbal products because they may interact with medications a person takes or aggravate the symptoms of certain diseases.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/4/2021
References
Image Source: Madeleine Steinbach / Getty Images

Leyva-López N, Gutiérrez-Grijalva EP, Vazquez-Olivo G, Heredia JB. Essential Oils of Oregano: Biological Activity beyond Their Antimicrobial Properties. Molecules. 2017;22(6):989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152729/

Lu M, Dai T, Murray CK, Wu MX. Bactericidal Property of Oregano Oil Against Multidrug-Resistant Clinical Isolates [published correction appears in Front Microbiol. 2021 Jul 12;12:713573]. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:2329. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02329/full