Nature’s Potency: A Guide to Unlocking Oregano Oil’s Remarkable Health Benefits

Annanya Chakraborty
Annanya Chakraborty Facts & How-To's
22 Min Read

You might have a jar full of dried oregano in your kitchen. Also, you might have seen this herb in some of the delicious oregano pesto or on some Mediterranean dishes1.

This Greek herb has proved its amazing fighting skills against bacterial infections. This antibiotic tool is a favorite of many doctors. The extract used for making the medicines is known as oregano oil.

Oregano essential oil has no harmful side effects commonly highlighted due to the frequent use of antibiotics. These plant extracts have many rival antibiotics to treat various bacterial infections. Other than these, there are a lot more benefits of oregano oil. Let us see some of them in this article.

1. What Is Oregano Oil

The oregano plant is known as Labiatae from the mint family and has been considered a precious plant for more than 2,500 years globally. The oil extracted from this plant has been used in traditional medicine for treating indigestion, colds, and upset stomachs.

This fragrant herb has antioxidant properties and some powerful compounds that can give amazing health benefits.

Oregano oil extract is not as strong as essential oils, but it can be beneficial when applied to the skin. Apart from just applying this oil, the effective natural antibiotics and antifungals present in it can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels.

A bunch of oregano herbs and a bottle of oregano oil is kept beside it.
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The name oregano appeared from the Greek words “oros,” which means mountain, and “ganos,” meaning joy or delight. This leaf is native to Europe and is grown worldwide due to its medicinal importance. It is prepared by drying the leaves of oregano and shoots of the plant.

When completely dried, the oil is extracted from the leaves and then concentrated through steam distillation.

This form of oregano oil is widely available all over the globe as a supplement and can also be found in pill or capsule form. The essential oregano oil is mixed with carrier oil and applied topically.

However, it is not consumed orally since the essential oils are not for consumption. However, the oregano oil can be made from various extraction methods. The compounds used are carbon dioxide or alcohol.

2. Compounds Present in Oregano Oil

The compounds present in the compounds are called terpenes2, terpenoids3, and phenols. These compounds have strong antioxidant properties, mainly responsible for their fragrance.

  • Thymol4 – The natural antifungal properties support the immune system and protect the body from toxins.
  • Carvacrol – It is the most abundant phenol in the oregano. This compound has been proven to stop the growth of any bacteria and do no harm to the body.
  • Rosmarinic Acid5This powerful antioxidant of oregano helps protect against the damage caused by free radicals.

However, these compounds do not provide limited benefits. They are proven to provide many more health benefits.

3. Oregano Essential Oil Vs. Oil of Oregano

The essential oregano oil is made to fulfill the purposes of aromatherapy, which is different from the herbal oil of oregano. The essential oregano oil must not be consumed orally.

The essential oregano oil is typically dispersed into either coconut or olive oil carrier oil. The essential oil is only used for aromatherapy massage or over the skin to treat any skin conditions.

4. How Much Oregano Essential Oil You Can Take Orally

The type of oil of oregano dosage will depend on your condition. The oral supplementation of emulsified oregano oil is around 600 milligrams per day. It comes in capsule form. The traditional use of the oregano leaves makes digestive-aid tea.

The pre-made oregano tea can be made on your own. You can take 15 grams of the oregano leaves in 250 milliliters of water. Keep it for at least five minutes.

Since the oregano oil interferes with the working of other medications, you should seek your doctor’s permission before taking essential oil orally. The recommendation will depend on the situation you are in.

5. Risks and Side Effects of Oregano Oil

The limitations of oregano oil are still unknown. Researchers are still studying the side effects and benefits of oregano oil. If you take oregano oil internally, you should take diluted oregano oil mixed with water or coconut oil.

Oregano oil often causes throat burning, but you can overcome this if you take it in olive oil capsule and tablet form. The oil from oregano also has some negative skin reactions. So, performing a small test using a carrier oil is highly recommended.

Oregano plant with the name written on a note.
Image From: Shutterstock

Though the dried herb oregano is considered fine for pregnant women, the oregano oil is unsafe. However, if the pregnant woman needs to use oregano oil, she should first consult the doctor about its use.

Oregano oil can have other side effects. It can cause dizziness, allergic reactions, and nausea. You should immediately stop using the oregano oil and make sure you visit the doctor when you face any problems.

6. How to Use Oregano Oil

The oregano oil can be diffused with some carrier oil or taken internally. However, you can take it internally only if it is 100 percent therapeutic-grade oil. The oil is also available as oregano oil soft gels or capsules that can be taken internally.

Coconut or jojoba oil can be used to mix the essential oregano oil. It will help you to counteract the irritation and adverse reactions caused by the essential oils. Mixing the oregano oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin would be best.

Typically, there are no standard effective doses available for oregano essential oil. But make sure to mix it with at least 5 ml of oil before applying it over your skin.

7. List of Oregano Oil Benefits

The predominant healing compound found in oregano oil, carvacrol, has many uses, which range from treating allergies to protecting the skin.

Carvacrol is a monoterpene phenol with a wide spectrum of activity in food spoilage or pathogenic fungi. The carvacrol found in the oregano oil is so potent that it has been used in more than 800 studies.

There are many other benefits of oregano oil. Let us take a look at several health benefits of oregano.

1. Natural Alternative to Antibiotics

Generally, most humans face problems when they consume antibiotics daily. The antibacterial properties of any broad-spectrum bacteria can be dangerous since they kill the bad bacteria responsible for infections and healthy bacteria that are the main fighting bacteria against infections.

Overuse of any antibiotics can cause a range of problems. In addition, it makes the drug less potent against the bacteria; hence, the bad bacteria create resistance against the antibiotic.

Unfortunately, since there are few antibiotic alternatives, doctors prescribe those broad-spectrum antibiotics, often when they have no use.

Graphic image of tablets falling on a plain blue background.
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The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium, which is the most common cause of infection, results in food poisoning and skin infections. However, oregano oil can fight this bacterium and relieve the infection caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium.

Oregano oil is an alternative medicine for antibiotics. However, the oregano and the carvacrol found in the oil contain essential compounds that can help fight the bad bacteria.

Some research also suggests that the essential oregano oil can be effective against potentially antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The antibacterial property of oregano can treat urinary and respiratory tract infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and E. coli.

Oregano oil extract has compounds similar to essential oregano oil, which have similar health benefits. However, researchers are stuffing more cases to find more health benefits. 

2. Reduces Side Effects from Medications or Drugs

One of the most promising benefits of oregano oil is reducing the side effects of medication or drugs. This benefit gives hope to normal people who wish to find some way to deal with the side effects of taking medicines. It includes chemotherapy6 or the use of drugs for arthritis7.

A study in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine proved that phenol content in oregano oil helps against methotrexate toxicity, which was found in mice.

This methotrexate drug8 (MTX) is mostly used for treating cancers and rheumatoid arthritis. But, it has some horrible side effects, which taunt the patients for taking it.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of oregano supplements make it possible to keep the side effects of methotrexate in check. In addition, the essential oregano oil protected the patients better than the drug, which was ineffective in providing full protection against the MTX’s side effects.

The carvacrol present in the oregano has been shown to decrease inflammatory diseases. Many potential benefits of oregano oil are still unknown. Hence, this herb is still under study to find its top benefits.

The compounds in oregano can treat iron deficiency anemia through oral iron therapy. It can cause major gastrointestinal issues. It includes diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The carvacrol is expected to target the gram-negative bacteria’s outer membrane, thus increasing the membrane permeability. Due to this, the carvacrol in oregano causes the depletion of harmful bacteria.

Besides its antimicrobial properties, carvacrol also interferes with bacterial iron handling. For this reason, oregano helps lower iron therapy’s side effects.

3. Oregano Oil May Help You to Lose Weight

The oregano’s carvacrol content can aid you in losing some of your body fat. In an experiment, the mice were fed a crying diet and carvacrol.

In scientific references, carvacrol given to mice with a high-fat diet gained less weight than those with a high-fat diet9. Thus, this proves that taking carvacrol along with your diet can help you lose some of your body fat.

A close-up image of a person standing on a weighing scale and a measuring tape lying in front.
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Also, the carvacrol of oregano was found to cross a chain of events that can lead to the formation of fat cells.

Thus, more research is required to find oregano’s fundamental role in weight loss. However, it can be taken as a supplement with your healthy diet and lifestyle for weight loss.

4. It Treats an Athlete’s Foot

The combination of essential oils, heat, and salt inhibits the mycelia of T. brubrum and the conidia of T. mentagrophytes. These are the bacterial strains that are typically responsible for fungal infections, which are commonly known as athletes’ feet.

The essential oils combined with salt for thermotherapy can help treat tinea pedis from a foot bath. Oregano oil has proved to have better benefits against athletes’ feet. It was confirmed in a study where 11 other essential oils were tested for better results.

5. Pain Relief

The oregano oil was tested for having some painkilling properties. In an older study, mice confirmed that painkillers and oregano essential oil better relieve pain.

A man is suffering from back pain.
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Oregano oil has similar effects to painkillers. The pain relief from oregano oil was better than fenoprofen and morphine. Some research suggests that this property is in oregano mainly due to the carvacrol content.

In a study with rats, it was seen that the oregano extracts reduced pain in rats, but it was due to the doses. Thus, it was concluded that more oregano extracts meant less pain.

6. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The inflammation in the human body is mainly linked to several adverse health effects. Oregano oil is potent in reducing inflammation in humans. The oregano essential oil and thyme essential oil reduce inflammatory markers for those who have artificially induced coils.

The key component, carvacrol in oregano oil, has anti-inflammatory possessions. This compound is also potent in preventing obesity. The process is done by affecting the genes involved in inflammation. In simple terms, the compound in oregano oil can reduce inflammation. In addition to this, oregano oil is potent for dealing with anti-inflammatory bowel disease.

If thyme and oregano essential oils are given together, it can reduce the growing production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and thus help alleviate colitis. Though many experiments and studies have shown the benefits of consuming oregano, the actual dosage amount is still unknown. Scientists are still on their way to finding the safe dosage for humans.

7. Wound Healing Ability

If diluted oregano oil is applied over the skin, it can help protect the smaller cuts. Scrapes on the human skin can heal at a faster rate.

The compounds in oregano oil, thymol, and carvacrol protect against wounds caused by bacterial infections.

8. Ability to Repel Insects

In 2017, scientists found that both thymol and carvacrol are effective for insect repellents. These compounds in oregano oil can repel some of the ticks and mosquitos.

A woman spraying oregano oil on her thighs to repel insects.
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However, this has not yet been confirmed; some scientific evidence is required. But rubbing diluted oregano oil on the skin is a way to repel insects naturally.

9. Helps in Treating Parasites

Oregano oil is very potent for reducing gastrointestinal symptoms, especially those tested for Blastocystis Homins. It can cause gas, nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

A study found that when adults’ stools test positive for enteric parasites, it can cause digestive distress. Six hundred milligrams of oregano for at least six weeks showed significant improvements in gastrointestinal health.

10. Provides Antioxidants

Oregano oil is a great antioxidant. The antioxidant property helps stop any damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals.

The components of oregano oil, which are thymol and carvacrol, are some of the powerful antioxidants that can help reduce human oxidation. Oxidative stress is potent in bringing DNA damage and death to cells. They also play a major role in other issues, such as arthritis, some cancers, and atherosclerosis.

The antioxidant property in oregano retains its power in dry and fresh oregano. Since the concentration of antioxidant properties is high, the oregano extract has the power to reduce oxidative damage. It also helps prevent mutagenesis, aging due to free radicals scavenging activities, and carcinogenesis10.

Free radicals in human beings are considered to contribute to some common conditions. They can be cancer, cardiovascular diseases11, chronic diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and drug toxicity.

11. Helps in Improving the Cholesterol Levels

Oregano oil has a cholesterol-lowering effect. In a study, 48 patients with mild hyperlipidemia were given a lifestyle with low-fat dietary food.

Thirty-two patients were given 25 ml of distilled oregano after meals for three months. After three months, patients given distilled oregano showed a decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), but the remaining patients showed high-density lipoprotein12 (HDL).

The carvacrol component in oregano is potent in lowering the cholesterol level in just ten weeks with a good low-fat diet. The capability of lowering cholesterol levels is considered to be the work of carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil.

12. Helps in Treating Yeast Infections

Yeast is often harmless, but if allowed to be overgrown, it can result in several problems. The problems include gut problems, infections, and thrush.

An illustrative art of vaginal yeast infection
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Candida, a well-known yeast, is responsible for yeast infections all across the globe. The essential oregano oil is potent in stopping five different types of fungal infections caused by Candida.

Oregano oil can prevent infectious diseases mainly caused by the mouth and vagina. The oregano oil supplements are more effective against yeast infections than other essential oils.

The high levels of the yeast Candida are directly linked with gut health. It includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Candida can cause several types of infections.

  • athletes foot
  • yeast infections in the vagina,
  • oral thrush
  • infected fingernails and toenails

13. Improves Gut Health

Oregano oil can help with different types of gut problems. People who face gut symptoms that include diarrhea, bloating, and pain are some common problems caused by gut parasites.

Oregano oil may help lower leaky gut syndrome. This syndrome happens when the gut walls are damaged, allowing the bacteria and other toxins to pass through and mix in the bloodstream.

In a study with pigs, the oregano oil extract helped the pigs to stop the gut walls from getting damaged and thus prevented leaky syndrome. This aqueous oregano extract also helped the pigs reduce the number of E. coli bacteria in the gut.

Oregano oil may kill gut parasites and protect against leaky gut syndrome.

14. Small Intestinal Bacterial Growth

Oregano oil may treat some chronic bacterial issues. It mostly helps treat SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth13. People dealing with SIBO are experiencing some gastrointestinal problems, which are solely caused by the overgrowth of some bacteria in their intestines.

The active compounds thymol, carvacrol, or oregano effectively treat SIBO in people. In a study, it was found that other herbs that have these two compounds can help deal with SIBO. So, studying these two components individually will take more time.

Bottom-Line

Oregano oil is very powerful and can help in reducing many health risks. This antimicrobial remedy acts better than any other herbal antimicrobials. In addition, the antioxidants present in oregano are higher than in any other fruits and vegetables. It is packed with numerous powerful compounds and phenols.

Oregano oil can be useful in natural treatments for common health complications. Oregano has certain compounds that can be effective against fungal infections, pain, inflammation, and other diseases. Even some prescription medications have some amounts of oregano in them.

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Last Updated on by Sanjana

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