Plants, like humans (and pretty much every other living thing) are under constant attack from infection and they produce essential oils to defend themselves from bacteria, modulate immune function, and stimulate different physiological pathways in order to thrive. Those same essential oils in plants, can be used to bolster our own health in similar ways. You can find a lot of information about essential oils on the our blog, but today we want to talk a bit about one oil in particular: Oregano Oil.
Oregano oil is an essential oil that has a number of powerful uses, it’s most known for its ability to cleanse and defend, but this remarkable oil can do far more than just that. For thousands of years, it has been used in the mediterranean to relieve indigestion and other gut problems, to stave off illness, to treat respiratory infections, and more.
Oregano oil is considered medicinal because it has healing properties that are both aggressive and supportive in that when taken internally and safely, this oil attacks pathogens within the body while at the same time feeding the body a multitude of minerals and nutrients.
The active therapeutic components that give oregano oil its potency are as follows:
Research has shown that this phenol can help fight several types of internal bacterial infections such as E. coli, Candida albicans, salmonella, listeria, and more.
Another phenol, this compound has excellent properties for disease prevention and helps protect against toxic agents.
An antioxidant that may help mitigate the symptoms of allergic reactions.
Has potent cleansing properties.
May help relieve the feeling of stress.
Fights free radicals and supports the other antioxidants in oregano oil.
This article will run through the properties and benefits of oregano oil and how to choose an oregano oil product.
5 Benefits of Internal Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil is not for the weak. When consumed, even in 1-2 drops, it’ll put a heck of a burn on your tongue and throat, so we don’t suggest working with it without diluting it into a carrier oil. If you’re willing to use it sparingly and pay close attention, it can do you a world of good—just make sure you’re looking into the contraindications. Also note that eating or drinking tea of the oregano plant also has these benefits but in more diluted notes.
The appearance of aging is essentially the accumulation of cellular damage. And one of the most detrimental contributing factors to that accumulation is oxidative damage. Oxidants are free radicals that your body’s metabolic processes naturally produce but they have to be kept in check. If allowed to roam among your muscles, connective tissue, blood vessels, and organs, they can wreak serious havoc in your body (along with making you look older than your years).
Oregano oil is an antioxidant, which means it counteracts oxidative damage, and reigns in roaming free radicals. One study examined the effects of wild-grown oregano (Origanum vulgare, the oregano you know and love) on oxidants, and found that because of the carvacrol and thymol it contains, it did, in fact, reduce oxidative activity. So by adding oregano oil to your medicine cabinet, you can help stave off those wrinkles that are just waiting to furrow your brow, and enjoy years more of robust, youthful health.
There’s a plethora of diseases and viral infections just waiting to invade every organ and blood vessel in your body. Fortunately, there are cleaner forms of defense than big pharma drugs, such as oregano oil. Oregano oil contain high amounts of both carvacrol and thymol, which, in addition to their antioxidant benefits, inhibit internal bacterial growth. A study comparing rosemary and thyme with oregano essential oil also found that out of the oils tested, oregano had the most internal bacteria fighting activity, with potent effects against the twenty-five genera of bacteria used.
Not too shabby for a pasta sauce herb.
3—Helps with internal inflammation
Inflammation results from a number of harmful stimuli and can lead to various physiological problems. Like free radicals, inflammation is a natural function of the body when you cut yourself, get an infection, twist an ankle, or have an allergic reaction. Your body increases blood flow through vessels and between tissues, and white blood cell activity increases to fight bacteria and deal with damaged or dead cells. That’s acute inflammation, and it’s a normal, healthy process.
The problem then, is one of balance. If left unchecked, or if you subject your body to consistent stressors and a poor diet, you can develop chronic inflammation, which can lead to chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and obesity. Remember, though, inflammation itself is not a disease, it’s a symptom of a problem. It protects your body, and its presence lets you know that you need to do make a change to bring balance back into your system.
That being said, oregano oil can be a big help with internal inflammation. One study observed that oregano oil, when taken internally, stimulates your body to produce its own chemicals that help combat inflammation.
Oregano oil is reported to contain substances that can induce menstruation by inducing blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area, meaning that it may be useful in treating an irregular menstrual cycle.
This also means that pregnant women should not use oregano essential oil. If too much blood flows into the uterus and pelvic area, especially during the first trimester, it’s possible compromise the tissue lining that protects the uterus and you do risk losing the baby, so it’s highly recommended that oregano oil should be avoided during pregnancy.
5—Fights internal fungus
Bacteria and viruses aren’t the only critters launching attacks on the human race. Mold and fungi are an unrelenting problem, whether a respiratory condition brought on by household molds or a growth in the gut like candida. Studies have even been performed on oregano oil, among other possible plant-oil-based fungicides, for use in buildings to regulate indoor air quality.
How To Choose Your Oregano Oil
If you’re looking to add oregano oil to your natural living repertoire, there are a few things to consider when choosing your product.
How you want to take it
Oregano essential oil can be found as a pure essential oil, in capsule form, or pre-diluted in a carrier oil to be used topically and internally. The form you choose will depend on how you’re looking to use the oil. If buying pure oregano essential oil, do not apply it directly to skin or in your mouth without first diluting it in something—it is extremely strong and will burn you!
Most oregano oil products will list their concentration of the main active compound, carvacrol. The higher the concentration, the stronger the antibacterial effects.
Other highly recommended things to look for when choosing your oregano essential oil are:
• Handpicked and grown on native soils (i.e. wild mediterranean oil of oregano)
• Certified organic
• Steam distilled oil (for higher purity)
Kevin Gianni is co-founder and CEO of Annmarie Skin Care, an award winning skin care company that produces organic and wildcrafted facial oils, serums, and cleansers. Annmarie Skin Care has been one of Inc500’s Fastest Growing Companies and also was recognized as one of Inc500’s Best Workplaces. The company and products have been featured by many media outlets including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Forbes, and Organic Spa Magazine. He is also the author of Kale and Coffee: A Renegade's Guide to Health, Happiness, and Longevity published in 2015 by Hay House.