Other Names of Oregano: Oregan, wild marjoram, mountain mint, origani vulgaris herba, wintersweet, and pizza herb

Useful Parts of the Plant: Leaves and flowers (edible)

Oregano is a perennial herb, which belongs to the genus Origanum and family Lamiaceae (mint family). The plant grows in warm and temperate climates and is native to the European and Mediterranean regions. The plant grows to a height of 20 inches and bears pink or purple flowers. Oregano has a distinct and characteristic odor and flavor, and it is hence used considerably in culinary preparations. It is usually confused with sweet marjoram due to its outer appearance. Oregano has numerous varieties, the most distinct being the Mexican oregano; it is considered strongest in flavor and aroma. Oregano is also widely used in the perfumery industry and for other herbal and medicinal preparations.

Nutritional Information and Properties

Oregano is very high in nutritional content, particularly certain vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber or roughage. It is a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Some of the minerals found in oregano are iron, calcium, and magnesium. Oregano is also known to be source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help stimulate and regulate the cardiovascular system of the body. Moreover, the dietary fiber it provides helps regulate bowel movement. Oregano also contains beta-carotene, a pigment good for the skin. Additionally, minimal amounts of sugar can be found in oregano, but it does not contain saturated fats.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

  • Oregano is anti-parasitic in action. It helps eliminate parasites and helminthes in the digestive tract, thus relieving a variety of digestive disorders. It also helps in retaining the nutritional benefits of food.
  • Consumption of oregano also aids digestion by promoting the secretion of digestive juices. It is also rich in roughage, thus preventing constipation and other bowel disorders.
  • Oregano, being a rich source of Vitamin A and carotene, helps maintain the health of the skin. It also prevents skin problems like acne, pimples, and whiteheads.
  • Oregano is anti-microbial in action and thus prevents and cures a variety of afflictions, including ringworm infections, cholera, and diarrhea, among others.
  • Oregano, being a potent antibacterial and antiviral agent, helps in the functioning of the immune system and serves are a good tonic for the body.
  • Application of oregano oil helps relieve a variety of skin ailments. It also works well on loose and irritated gums. However, when used for topical application, oregano oil must be diluted with carrier oils like coconut or olive oil. If used without dilution, it could lead to skin irritation and even appearance of blisters.
  • Oregano oil also helps relieve congestion. You can mix the dried herb flakes in a glass of juice and consume it every day to relieve congestion.
  • Oregano, being a rich source of antioxidants, helps prevent and combat cancer. It curbs chain reactions that are otherwise initiated due to liberation of free radicals. Also, its rich antioxidant content slows down the process of natural degeneration of cells and tissues.
  • Oregano is a potent emmenagogue; it helps regulate the menstrual cycle and serves to cleanse the reproduction system by promoting blood flow.
  • Oregano serves to stimulate the muscular system on account of its anti-inflammatory properties, thereby preventing various muscle-related problems such as arthritis, swelling, and rheumatic fever.
  • Oregano also helps reduce the intensity of allergic reactions to environmental agents.
  • Oregano is a rich source of potassium, and potassium is very important for the functioning of the body. It helps control heart rate and also maintains blood pressure.
  • Oregano also promotes bone metabolism, attributed to its high content of magnesium and calcium.
  • Oregano also prevents anemia by promoting synthesis of red blood cells, which is attributed to its high content of iron.