Oregano is an herb with olive-green leaves and purple flowers. It grows 1-3 feet tall and is closely related to mint, thyme, marjoram, basil, sage, and lavender.
Oregano is native to warm western and southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Turkey is one of the largest exporters of oregano. It now grows on most continents and under a variety of conditions. Countries known for producing high-quality oregano essential oils include Greece, Israel, and Turkey.
Outside of the U.S. and Europe, plants referred to as "oregano" may be other species of Origanum, or other members of the Lamiaceae family.
Oregano is taken by mouth respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, allergies, croup, and bronchitis. It is also taken by mouth for stomach disorders such as heartburn, bloating, and parasites. Oregano is also taken by mouth for painful menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, diabetes, bleeding after having a tooth pulled, heart conditions, and high cholesterol.
Oregano oil is applied to the skin for skin conditions including acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, canker sores, warts, wounds, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle and joint pain, and varicose veins. Oregano oil is also applied to the skin as an insect repellent.
In foods and beverages, oregano is used as a culinary spice and a food preservative.
How it works
Oregano contains chemicals that might help reduce cough and spasms. Oregano also might help digestion by increasing bile flow and fighting against some bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms, and other parasites.
Not ProvenParasites in the intestines
Some early research shows that taking 200 mg of a specific oregano leaf oil product (ADP, Biotics Research Corporation, Rosenberg, Texas) by mouth three times daily with meals for 6 weeks can kill certain types of parasites; however, these parasites usually do not require medical treatment.
Early research suggests that applying an oregano extract to the skin twice daily for up to 14 days after a minor skin surgery might reduce the risk of infection and improve scars.
Oregano leaf and oregano oil are LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts commonly found in food
Oregano leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately as medicine. Mild side effects include stomach upset. Oregano might also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to plants in the Lamiaceae family. Oregano oil should not be applied to the skin in concentrations greater than 1% as this might cause irritation.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Oregano isPOSSIBLY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth in medicinal amounts duringpregnancy. There is concern that taking oregano in amounts larger than food amounts might causemiscarriage. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking oregano if you arebreast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?
Bleeding disorders: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergies: Oregano can cause reactions in people allergic to Lamiaceae family plants, including basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, and sage.
Diabetes: Oregano might lower blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should use oregano cautiously.
Surgery: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding. People who use oregano should stop 2 weeks before surgery.
ModerateMedications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Oregano might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. In theory, taking some medications for diabetes along with oregano might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others..Oregano might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking oregano along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dabigatran (Pradaxa), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others..