Oregano is a culinary herb that grows wild in Mediterranean countries. Ancient civilizations used the oil of this herb for medicinal purposes. Many people currently use this oil to treat a variety of conditions, although few actual studies exist supporting the claims of healing.
Medicinal Use of Oil of Oregano
The ancient Greeks used the essential oil of this herb to treat respiratory problems, spider bites, wounds and snakebites. Proponents of herbal medicine and some physicians began using oregano during the nineteenth century to promote menstruation. The EBSCO Health Library advises that the oil from oregano plants is toxic to certain varieties of fungi and parasites. This anti-microorganism property may help prevent the overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans inside your body. Manufacturers label this oil as a treatment for candida.
The oily extract of oregano plant contains carvacrol, a type of plant phenol. It is this ingredient that is thought to provide the purported health benefits. Manufacturing and packaging processes affect the amount of carvacrol in individual products, making it important to check the package label when purchasing a bottle of oregano oil. For the greatest benefits, look for products that contain the highest levels of this active ingredient. Some contain as little as one-third of this ingredient.
Consumers currently use oregano oil to treat asthma, intestinal parasites, rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection. A popular use for this oil is to use it as a treatment for sinus infections. The most common reasons for using this herb involve treating minor illnesses in their early stages. Some women also use the oil to promote menstrual regularity and reduce the symptoms of menopause. Testimonials of people who use this herb include reports of sinus clearing, pain relief, fever reduction and wound healing. This herbal remedy has antioxidant properties, although it isn't clear how the antioxidants themselves may provide health benefits.
The typical dosage for oregano oil is 100 mg three times each day, using a standardized form that contains at least 55 to 65 percent concentrations of carvacrol, the active ingredient. You may notice a brief sensation of warmth as the oil contacts your tongue. This herb has a strong flavor, so washing it down with juice or another flavorful beverage can help clear your mouth of any lingering taste.
According to Dr. Edward Group of the Global Healing Center, studies show that this herbal remedy reduces pain and helps prevent vaginal infections, listeria, pseudomonas and staph infections, as well as common candida albicans infections. Its antimicrobial properties may be just as effective as some prescription antibiotics at killing bacteria. One study showed that taking 600 mg of oregano oil each day effectively removed enteric parasites in affected individuals.
Products and Sources
Oregano oil comes in a variety of forms, including tinctures, capsules, teas and essential oils. You can buy this product from a variety of retailers.
North American Herb and Spice
North American Herb and Spice offers gradual-release capsules that contain a blend of ingredients including oregano oil, as well as the oils of sage, cumin and bay leaf. The label instructions recommend taking two capsules per day.
Natural Factors sells certified organic oregano oil in tincture form that you apply under your tongue. The tincture contains about 30 mg of oregano oil and about 24 mg of carvacrol.
Vitamin World offers a wide range of products, including softgels that contain 500 mg of concentrated extract per dose. The company recommends taking one softgel up to two times each day, preferably with meals.
Wild Oil of Oregano
Wild Oil of Oregano specializes in the essential oil form of oregano. According to the company website, their products contain between 75 and 85 percent carvacrol. The product comes in bottles with droppers.
Although there are no known side effects of ingesting this oil, some people may be allergic to the active ingredient. You may experience a mild feeling of warmth with this product, especially if you use more than the amount recommended on the package label. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal product, including essential oils, to treat existing medical conditions. As with all herbs and supplements, get your doctor's approval before using this herb during pregnancy or while you are breastfeeding. Herbs may affect the absorption of prescription medications, making it important to discuss all your supplements with your doctor or health care professional.