Oregano Oil: Super Herbs and Spices
Oregano Oil: History and Usage
As more sophisticated technology allows us better awareness of the medicinal properties of plants, certain herbs and spices like oregano oil have received significant attention. In this series we will explore some of the most well known, and maybe provide some insight as to how and why they should become a normal part of your own traditional medical therapies.
While pharmaceutical companies are racing to extract, isolate, and manufacture medicinal plant compounds, the general public has started to use these herbs and spices in the same ways they’ve been used traditionally for thousands of years. Tinctures, oils, and liniments, are getting ever more attention since rampant overuse of antibiotics, often at the behest of patients desperate to treat viral infections, have created some of the most virulent strains of bacteria to ever exist.
So what can we do? Enter the humble wild oregano plant.
Not all oregano is medicinal grade. It’s important to understand that what is used in cooking does not contain much, of any, of the active ingredients, known as “carvacrol” and “thymol.” In most cases the oregano found at the grocery store is just marjoram, or even Mexican sage. The most potent true oregano is found around the Mediterranean, where its oil is extracted through distillation to preserve its curative powers. Real wild Mediterranean oregano (origanum vulgare) and its Spanish cousin (Thymus capitatus) are the two most widely sought after in order to obtain the medicinal benefits of oil of oregano.
The medicinal use of oregano is thousands of years old. Physicians of Ancient Greece prescribed oregano for things like indigestion, diarrhea, nervous tension, insect bites, toothache, earache, rheumatism, and coughs due to whooping cough and bronchitis (primarily for it’s antispasmodic effects), trauma, wounds, headaches, all lung disorders including asthma, seizures, venomous bits, and even narcotic poisoning. During the middle ages, Ottomans used oregano and oregano oil as a germicide, as well as a preservative to prevent microbial growth in food. More recently, the benefits of oregano for head colds were widely accepted in 17th century Britain, due to it’s well documented anti-microbial powers. As of today, every microbe tested against oregano has succumbed and there seems to be no tendency for buildup of microbial resistance.
As Dr. Cass Igram writes in his excellent book on natural remedies “The Cure Is In The Cupboard”,
“We must once again return to our natural resources to eradicate the enormous number of infectious diseases including those which are now resistant to antibiotics. Synthetic drugs are unreliable and are responsible for complicating the sickness. Side effects are numerous and often severe and lead to a host of new problems which then might require treatment. Natural antibiotics are essentially non-toxic. …Some of the infectious diseases are; staph/strep, E. Coli, venereal disease, salmonella, cholera, typhus, flesh eating bacteria, campylobacter, dysentery, mycoplasma, Epstein Barr, HIV Helicobacter, herpes, colds, flu, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Lyme, Shigellosis, Candida, Cyclospora, Cryptosporidium, Meningoccoccus, Encephalitic virus, dengue and hantavirus. They can strike at anytime. Not only is it the epitomes of distress to contract one of these diseases, many of them are fatal and have no medical cure.
What is little known is that in addition to the acute infections, many chronic diseases are also caused by infections. Diseases including arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, rosacea, gastritis, and Chron’s disease are not usually correctly treated. Antibiotics will not work for these conditions, rather, it is the natural antiseptic and nutritional therapies that are the answer.”
Oregano is rich in minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, boron, potassium, copper and manganese. It contains a whopping 1600 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Oregano is also ranked as one of best source of naturally occurring iron, which is different from some of the synthetic iron found in multiple vitamins, is non-toxic and can be consumed by men and women alike regardless of age. Oregano also contains four anti-asthmatic compounds; six compounds that are expectorants; seven that lower blood pressure; and nineteen antibacterial compounds that can make up to 8.8% of the essential oil itself!
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states in their research that “oregano is 3 to 20 times higher in antioxidant activity than any other herb.” In Brunswick Laboratories Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) testing, oil of oregano rated 3,040, whereas blueberry ranked 32.
Lipophilic ORAC Value per Gram
Oil of Cumin…………………………..2818
Oil of Oregano P73……………………3040
Choosing The Highest Grade Oil Of Oregano
The original research done in conjunction with the Georgetown University in D.C. proved that of 70 species tested, only a handful qualified as medicinal grade, which is dependent upon six factors that need to be met in order to use the product internally:
- It must be an edible species of oregano.
- It must be a wild spice, versus farm raised
- It must have a high carvacrol content of 70% or more
- It must be extracted via steam distillation
- It must be free of all pesticide and chemical residue
- It must have less than 5% thymol content
Wild oregano species with less than 40% carvacrol are not considered true oreganos, but instead are marjoram and are usually farm raised. Only oil of oregano with a carvacrol content of 62% or higher should be used, and some brands can go as high as 90%.
When you first start to feel ill, or if others around you are already sick, reach for a few drops of high quality oil of oregano, and leave some comments about your experience! It’s very spicy, however, so if you have trouble with spicy things, try mixing it with a little sweet fruit juice.
Be on the look out for more in our Super Herbs and Spices series!
These statements have not been evaluated by FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.