Oregano oil is an extremely popular herbal supplement touted as the pinnacle of antibacterial supplements for those dealing with infections or parasites – with several healing and anti-bacterial compounds such as ‘carvacrol’ which have been proven to halt bacteria growth (even antibiotic resistant strains), it is no wonder oregano oil has the reputation it does.
Oregano oil also naturally contains the compound ‘thymol,’ which supports the immune system and provides protection from external toxins, as well as ‘rosmarinic acid’ which has strong antioxidant properties and is known to protect the body from free radicals.
Oregano oil is now well known for its antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Although oregano is most commonly known for being an ingredient and spice in cooking, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil (not for internal use) or an extract (like a liquid tincture) that can be ingested internally. In these preparations, the leaves of the oregano are dried and then steam distilled after the oil is extracted.
Both forms have several healing properties and are very effective natural antibacterials.
Oregano oil comes from the same ‘family’ of herbs as mint and is typically native to Europe, however, it is now commercially widely available across the globe. It was initially used for medicinal purposes during ancient Greek and Roman civilizations – definitely not a new supplement by any means. This is a natural remedy that has been around for many centuries.
Several studies have been done to evaluate the potential benefits of oregano oil. A study completed in 2017 found that oregano oil was extremely useful in treating fevers and respiratory issues associated with flu illnesses due to its potent antioxidant properties. A 2011 study found that oregano oil was more effective against respiratory and flu-like viruses as opposed to just carvacrol alone – the previously mentioned compound found in oregano. Generally, supplementing with a whole extract or whole plant derived extract will always be more beneficial due to the complex of compounds contained in the plant that work synergistically together.
Additionally, a 2011 study that had participants use a throat spray containing oregano oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary oil found that their sore throat and cough symptoms reduced and faded only 20 minutes after using the spray!
Oregano oil (provided it is not an ‘essential’ oil) is safe to consume internally. However, some side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, etc. may occur – a lot of individuals taking oregano oil for things like Lyme or other bacterial and parasitic infections will likely experience a “die-off” reaction as the body processes the endotoxins released from the death of these harmful microorganisms. This is completely expected and documented – it is referred to as the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, or ‘herx’ for short. These reactions are short-term and are a natural detoxification reaction in the body to these harmful bacteria being purged. This is why it is recommended to gradually ease into a higher dosage of oregano oil, and slowly work your way up as you gain tolerance.
Individuals with allergies to mint, sage, basil or lavender are recommended to stay away from oregano as they may have an allergic reaction to it as well. Moreover, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a bleeding disorder or are consuming medication that affects the bloods’ ability to clot are not recommended to use oregano oil – it can increase blood-thinning effects of medication and can slow the ability of blood to clot A pediatrician should be consulted before using oregano oil with children internally.
Oregano is known for its ability to act as a natural antibiotic and antibacterial, and this is due to the carvacrol and thymol compounds that it naturally contains. These two specific compounds are known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some studies have shown that oregano oil may be effective against clinical strains of bacteria that have antibiotic resistance such as E. coli – it has also been researched and documented that oregano oil is effective against MRSA.
It may prove helpful to use oregano oil as an alternative option to traditional antibiotics as there is no chance of antibiotic drug resistance developing (which is a growing public health concern), and you will not find the same harmful effect on gut flora and digestive health with oregano oil that you would with traditional prescription antibiotics. Studies indicate that oregano oil may actually protect the lining of the gut wall, and help junctions – protecting against “leaky gut” syndrome.
Numerous studies show oregano oil is extremely effective at destroying bacteria biofilms and inactivating the pathogenic bacteria both internally and topically. This can range from using it to address Lyme, candida, or parasites – like intestinal worms.
Specific dosages for actual treatment may be dependent on the condition or health concern (or infection) that is being treated. As such, it is always recommended that you only use 1 to 2 drops at a time and monitor for side effects. Oregano oil should not be consumed for over 14 consecutive days without consulting a health care practitioner like a nutritionist, naturopath or family doctor. Oregano is extremely potent, and has a diuretic and blood thinning effect.
What about arterial health and heart disease? Oregano oil may prove beneficial in lowering cholesterol. In a study where 48 individuals were given health and lifestyle advice to lower their cholesterol and 32 individuals were given this advice as well as 25 mL of oregano oil extract after each meal, it was found that the individuals who also took the oregano oil had lower amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and higher amounts of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. The ability of oregano to lower cholesterol is believed to come from the powerful phenols that are present in the herb.
Oregano oil is known for its extremely potent antibacterial properties that can be used to address internal ailments (like candida infection, or Lyme) as well as topical applications (MRSA or insect bites), but in general it has numerous antioxidant properties and the ability to protect the body from the effects of free radicals. A study tested 39 different herbs antioxidant properties and oregano was found to have the greatest concentration of antioxidants. Oregano has 42 times the amount of antioxidant levels compared to apples, and 4 times the amount found in blueberries. Oregano oil extract is very concentrated, so a much smaller amount of the extract is required to obtain the same benefits as those found in fresh oregano. This makes it an obvious choice to include in the medicine cabinet or supplement toolbox, should you encounter any sort of infection. While not something to be used on a regular basis and to be used sparingly, oregano oil’s extremely powerful effects make it essential to have on hand.