Botanical: Origanum vulgare
Family: Labiatae/Lamiaceae (mint)
Other common names: Mountain Mint, Spanish Thyme, Wild Marjoram, Origanum, Common Marjoram, Wintersweet
Long known as a delicious and aromatic addition to Mediterranean cooking, don't miss out on Oregano Leaf's wonderful properties that will ease indigestion and upset stomach, kill bacteria, reduce excess water weight and fevers, and also relieve cramps.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Oregano is a hardy, herbaceous perennial that is native to southern Europe and has been naturalized in North America, where it may be found in old fields and roadsides in well-drained-to-dry, slightly alkaline soil in full sun. The shrubby plant is pleasant and minty-smelling with a slight, thyme-like taste. Oregano is slightly sprawling with dark green leaves that may grow from six inches to three feet in height. The Greeks gave us the name Oregano, which is derived from oros and ganos, meaning "joy of the mountain," and those traveling through Greece will find it covering the hillsides and scenting the summer air. The sweet, spicy scent was reputedly created by Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness, and both Greek and Roman bridal couples were crowned with garlands of Oregano (or wild marjoram, as it is sometimes called) to ensure happiness. Oregano plants were also placed in tombs to give peace to the departed spirits. The leaves have been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years, with Theophrastus (370-285 B.C.) recommending it to ease childbirth. Aristotle said it cured poisoning, and claimed that tortoises swallowing a snake would immediately eat Oregano as an antidote to prevent death. The Greeks used it in oils to massage into the skin to relieve pain, and the Egyptians used it to disinfect and heal wounds. Oregano was introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages to meet the demand for ladies' nosegays and sweet bags, and for a curious use of preventing milk from curdling during thunderstorms. The pungently aromatic and warming herb was prescribed by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century herbalists as a digestive aid for improved digestion, as a diuretic and as an antidote for venomous bites. Oregano is well known in Italian and Greek cuisines and has been used in salads, soups, sauces, and seasonings for meats and fish. The leaves contain volatile oils (including carvacrol and the powerful antiseptic, thymol), flavonoids, gallic acid and tannin.
Oregano Leaf promotes healthy digestion and treats simple gastrointestinal and stomach problems. It is excellent for easing nausea, stomach upsets, indigestion, and flatulence and is also thought to improve gallbladder disorders.
As an effective diuretic, Oregano Leaf is an age-old treatment to promote urine and rid the body of excessive water retention. The herb is a stimulating and aromatic diaphoretic that promotes and increases perspiration, which helps to cleanse the body of toxins through the skin and reduce fevers. This is especially effective for relieving the symptoms of colds and flu.
Oregano is thought to be helpful in treating nervous disorders, relieving irritability, convulsions, general exhaustion and tension headaches. Oregano is said to have mild herbal sedative qualities that will also ease seasickness.
As an antispasmodic, Oregano Leaf relaxes spasms and eases stomach cramps and severe menstrual pains and cramps.
Oregano is believed to be an effective antidote for the poisoning experienced with certain narcotics, and the thymol in Oregano is known as a powerful antiseptic and antibacterial, possessing healing qualities and combating infection. The herb has long been used to kill and expel parasitic worms in the intestines.
As an expectorant, Oregano is thought to relieve dry coughs and asthma, and generally ease lung conditions.
Used externally, Oregano is said to reduce swellings and relieve rheumatism and arthritis and relieve aches and pains and stiff necks. Its antiseptic properties help to kill bacteria, combat head lice and infections in wounds and cuts. It may be used in mouthwashes and gargle for sore throats and irritated gums.
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Oregano Leaf Herbal Supplement. Those who are allergic to members of the mint family (thyme, basil, sage, marjoram, etc.) should avoid this herb.