Oregano oil is a special type of oil that is extracted from the oregano plant and is used for several purposes. It has a pleasant smell and can be used either orally or directly on the skin.
For designated uses, oregano oil can be processed into essential oil. In this form, the oil has antioxidants and plant compounds that benefit health. Oregano’s essential oil has no harm even when consumed orally as compared to other essential oils which are not to be taken via mouth.
Health benefits of oregano oil range from facilitating weight loss to fighting fungal diseases and lowering cholesterol levels.
In botany, Origanum vulgare is the scientific name of oregano. It is flowering and descends from the same family as mint. At one point, the oregano plant was only found in Europe, its native home but currently, it has global attention and farming.
In Italian dishes, oregano oil is used for culinary purposes. The manufacturing of oregano essential oil follows a simple process. The leaves and shoots of the oregano plant are dried in the air. Upon drying, oil is extracted, and eventually, steam distillation is used to concentrate the oil. For effective topical application, oregano essential oil may be combined with a carrier oil but should never be taken orally.
A complex process is involved in the production of oregano oil extract. During these processes, extraction may require the use of compounds like alcohol and carbon dioxide. Oregano oil extract can therefore be consumed orally in pills and capsules or as supplements.
Special plant compounds like phenols, terpenes, and terpenoids are found in oregano. These three have powerful antioxidants that give the oregano its fragrance and they include:
Thymol: is an antioxidant with antifungal properties, keeps toxins at bay, and also supports immunity.
Carvacol: is a type of phenol present in oregano in abundance. The National Center for Biotechnology Information claims that carvacol can stop the progression of bacterial infections due to its antimicrobial property.
Rosmarinic acid: it an antioxidant that has the potential to fight free radicals thus protect against harmful diseases.
Due to the presence of these antioxidants, oregano oil has numerous health benefits as well as uses. This article discusses them in detail.
1. Oregano Oil Can Lower Cholesterol
The National Center for Biotechnology Information conducted a study on hyperlipidaemic patients to find out its effect on cholesterol levels. 48 respondents were selected to act as a control sample, they were given lifestyle tips and diet to lower cholesterol. Thirty-two respondents on the other hand were put on 25 mL of oregano oil extract to be taken after every meal.
The results? After 90 days, those who were on oregano oil extract had “bad” low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol lowered and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol increased. They were better off than those on diet and lifestyle tips alone. The potential of oregano oil to lower cholesterol is owed to the presence of phenols carvacol and thymol compounds.
2. Oregano Oil Can Help Fight Bacterial Diseases
The compound carvacol in oregano gives it the ability to fight bacterial infections. Many skin infections and food poisoning are illnesses that are commonly associated with the bacterium- Staphylococcus aureus.
One study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information was done on mice to determine the effects of oregano essential oil on Staphylococcus aureus. They established that these mice lived longer than 30 days. This was closer to equaling mice that received antibiotics.
Common bacteria resistant to antibiotics such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli can respond well to oregano essential oil. Further human studies are needed to affirm these findings.
3. Has Antioxidant Properties
Your body needs antioxidants to help it stay safe from damages caused by free radicals. Such tissue damages caused by free radicals predisposes an individual to quick aging and fatal diseases like heart problems.
Your body produces free radicals from metabolism and they circulate everywhere in the body. Those who smoke or those exposed to air pollutants are more likely to have a build-up of free radicals.
Oregano has very powerful antioxidants that are capable of fighting and decreasing these free radicals.
4. Has Antifungal Properties
The antifungal property of oregano oil can help fight fungal infections such as yeast infections. Even though yeast is a normal commensal in the body, it can be harmful when it overgrows. This can lead to oral thrush and other infections of yeast origin.
A study to determine the effectiveness of oregano essential oil against Candida came up with an amazing result. It found out that five different strains of Candida could be reduced by the essential oil of oregano. This study was done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information
Oregano essential oil can therefore be effective in treating diseases related to yeast such as oral thrush, vaginal yeast infection, and Crohn’s disease among others.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
Studies have found out that oregano oil may be effective in reducing inflammation. Inflammation may be debilitating and affect the individual economically.
Inflammation can effectively be reduced by oregano essential oil and thyme essential oil especially in induced colitis according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Carvacol also plays a role in reducing symptoms related to inflammation.
6. Oregano Oil May Facilitate Weight Loss
The strength and ability that oregano oil has in facilitating weight loss are largely vested in carvacol. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, carvacol content in oregano can counteract the process of forming fat cells.
7. Has Analgesic Property
Oregano essential oil has nearly the same ability to produce pain-killing properties compared to morphine or ibuprofen. It can effectively reduce pain offer gradual relief. This is attributed to oregano’s content- carvacol. These findings are only animal proven and therefore human studies need to confirm them.
8. May Help to Fight Cancer
Oregano essential oil is claimed to be having the potential of fighting cancer. This is more so in cancer of the liver, lung, and breast. Carvacol inhibits the growth of cancer cells and causes apoptosis (slow death of cancer cells). However, more studies on humans need to be done to confirm these findings.
Origanum vulgare or oregano is a herbal plant that has been used for many years. In Italy where it has its origin, oregano is even used for culinary purposes. Its leaves and shoots can be air-dried to produce essential oil or oil extract. These oils of oregano have many health benefits due to the presence of carvacol, thymol, and rosmarinic acid. You can try consuming supplements of oregano oil or oregano oil purely to experience the above-discussed health benefits.