Oregano may help relieve cough, aid digestion, and have other medicinal benefits, although these claims aren’t backed by sufficient scientific evidence
Oregano is not just an herb used to flavor foods; it is also known for health benefits and is used as a home remedy for many ailments. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the medicinal benefits of oregano.
Phytonutrients, especially carvacrol, in oregano are responsible for claims of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunity-boosting properties.
Some studies have suggested that the various phytochemicals in oregano may help relieve cough and muscle spasms and fight infections. Some believe it is also good for the gut, aiding digestion by increasing the flow of bile (a fluid produced by the liver that aids fat digestion).
Oregano contains various minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and selenium), vitamins (such as vitamins C, K, A, and E, folate, and B vitamins), and various other beneficial compounds, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, thymol, and carvacrol that act as antioxidants.
Table: Nutritional contents of a teaspoon of oregano leaves (about 1 gram)
What Does Oregano Oil Cure?
9 health benefits of oregano oil
The 9 health benefits of oregano oil include:
- Treats infections
- Antioxidants and anticancer
- Promotes digestion
- Weight loss
- Wound healing and pain reliever
- Anti-parasitic and insect repellent
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Reduces inflammation
- Regulates menstruation
Though oregano oil is noted to have several health benefits, detailed studies are required for additional evidence that supports all claims.
18 potential benefits of oregano
Oregano is used for some medicinal purposes, although there isn’t enough evidence to measure the effectiveness of oregano in these uses:
- Wound healing after minor surgery
- Parasitic infections of the gut
- Skin conditions, such as acne, dandruff, and warts
- Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot
- Sore throat
- Breathing issues related to cough, asthma, nasal congestion, and bronchitis
- Gut problems, such as nausea, bloating, and indigestion
- Heart conditions
- High blood cholesterol levels
- Menstrual cramps
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Urinary tract infections
- Cold sores
- Varicose veins
Are there any side effects of oregano?
Oregano, both in leaf and oil form, is generally safe when consumed as food, although it’s best to talk to a doctor before taking oregano oil for its purported health benefits.
Generally, potential side effects are minor and may include:
- Mild stomach upset
- Allergic reactions, if you are allergic to plants from the mint family (such as basil, sage, mint, lavender, and marjoram)
- Skin irritation, if oregano oil is applied topically in concentrations greater than 1%
Oregano may worsen bleeding disorders or increase bleeding tendencies in people on medications that slow blood clotting (such as aspirin, clopidogrel, heparin, enoxaparin, and warfarin). Due to the increased risk of bleeding, oregano supplements must be stopped at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Oregano may lower blood sugar levels. Thus, people on antidiabetic medications must closely monitor their blood sugar levels if they use oregano supplements.
The safety of using oregano supplements in pregnancy and lactation is not well understood. Thus, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using oregano as a medication.
According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.”
Medically Reviewed on 8/5/2022
WebMD. Oregano. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-644/oregano
RxList. Oregano. https://www.rxlist.com/oregano/supplements.htm