The health benefits of Oregano Oil can be attributed mostly to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive emmenagogue and anti-allergenic properties.
Oregano which is a fragrant herb is best known as an ingredient in Italian cuisines Oregano oil can be used both when applied to the skin and when consumed.
What Is Oregano Oil?
Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves and shoots of the oregano plant.
Scientifically, they are known as Origanum vulgare. Oregano belongs to the same family as mint as it is often used as an herb to flavor food.
Oregano has its origin from Europe but currently, it is grown all over the world.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used it for medicinal purposes. The name oregano is coined from the Greek words “oros” meaning mountain and “ganos” meaning delight or joy. This plant normally grows in high mountains which why it is called “delight of the mountain”.
Oregano oil is extracted through steam distillation of the leaves and shoots of the plant (1).
The oil contains an active compound called phenols, which possess powerful antioxidant properties. Here are major types of this compound; Carvacrol, terpenes, thymol, Cymene, Roasmarinic acid, Linalyl acetate, Pinene, Bisabolene, Linalool, Geranyl Acetate, Borneol.
These compounds along with vitamins such as A, C, and E, and minerals such as zinc and magnesium are believed to underlie oregano’s numerous health benefits.
This article elucidates the top 8 health benefits of oregano oil.
1. May Help Lower Cholesterol
Oregano oil may help lower cholesterol according to research studies.
A 2008 study published in the Journal of International Medical Research shows that people with mildly high cholesterol levels after taking 25 ml of oregano oil for 3 months had lower LDL “bad” cholesterol level and higher HDL “good” cholesterol level (2).
One of the active compounds Carvacrol has been shown to reduce cholesterol level in mice fed a high-fat diet for 10 weeks (3). However, the cholesterol-lowering effect of oregano oil is believed to be the result of the action of thymol and carvacrol (4).
Here are 10 more cholesterol-lowering foods to eat often.
2. Strong Antioxidant
Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body against free radical damage.
Free radicals are thought to play a role in the development of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It is also believed to play a role in the aging process.
Oregano plant is believed to have 42 times more antioxidant than apple and 4 times more than blueberries. This is believed to be mostly due to its high rosmarinic acid content (5).
Due to its high concentration, you will need much less oregano oil to get the desired antioxidant effect. See 9 more fruits that are high in antioxidants that your body needs.
3. Oregano Oil Could Help Treat Yeast Infections
Yeast is a type of fungus which could be harmless, but overgrowth can result in infections such as thrush.
The most popular yeast is known as Candida which is responsible for the yeast infection called Candidiasis (6). In some studies, oregano oil has been shown to be effective in treating five different types of Candida such as those that infect the vagina and mouth (7).
The active compound Carvacrol has been shown to be very effective in combating oral Candida (8).
Accumulation of yeast Candida has been linked with some gut conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (9).
Here’s what every woman needs to know about vaginal yeast infection, This is a must read for all women.
4. Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Anti-Inflammatory properties are one of many oregano oil benefits. Inflammation is known to be responsible for a number of adverse health conditions.
Numerous studies have shown the oregano oil can help reduce inflammation.
A 2007 study shows that oregano oil in combination with thyme oil reduces inflammatory markers in mice induced with colitis (10). One of the active compounds in oregano Carvacrol has been linked to reduced inflammation.
A 2012 study shows the anti-inflammatory effects of carvacrol on the swollen ears of mice (11).
5. May Improve Gut Health
Oregano oil may have some potential health benefits on the gut.
Most gut problems like diarrhea and bloating are caused primarily by gut parasites.
A study published in Phytotherapy Research shows that administration of 600 mg of oregano oil to 14 people who had gut symptoms as a result of parasite had a reduction in gut symptoms and tiredness associated with the symptoms (12).
This essential oil may also help protect against common gut complaint known as “leaky gut”. This occurs when the gut wall is damaged allowing passage of bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream.
6. Anti-Cancer Properties
This is one of the oregano oil benefits. Oregano can be used to prevent cancer formation.
Numerous studies indicate that carvacrol has promising results against liver, lung, and breast cancer cells.
7. May Help in Weight Loss
Yep, another oregano oil benefits. Oregano oil’s carvacrol may help in weight loss.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that rats given carvacrol in combination with high-fat gained significantly less weight and body fat compared to those given a high-fat diet alone (16).
Also, carvacrol appears to reverse the cascade of events leading to fat cells formation.
However, more research is needed to demonstrate the role of oregano oil in weight loss, but it is worth giving it a try.
8. Could Help Relieve Pain
Oregano oil uses range from many things listed in this article and that includes using as a pain reliever. Investigation shows that oregano oil has some painkilling properties.
A study shows that oregano oil significantly reduces pain in experimental mice, with effects similar to common painkillers like morphine and fenoprofen.
The study suggests that these results were likely due to oregano oil’s active compound carvacrol (17).
Another study reveals that oregano oil the painkiller effect of oregano oil is dose-dependent, that is, the more the oregano oil the lesser the pain (18).
To wrap it all up, Hope you enjoyed this list of oregano oil benefits. Oregano oil has more antioxidant content than most vegetables and fruits and is packed full of powerful compounds called phenol.
This oil is relatively cheap and readily available either as a liquid or capsule form. Oregano oil may also prove effective in combating bacterial and fungal infections, inflammations and other conditions.
In general, the health benefits of oregano oil are numerous and researches are still ongoing to explore other health benefits. If you’re into oils then read this exciting post on kalamata olive nutrition and health benefits.