Oregano, a common ingredient in Italian and Mexican cuisine, comes from the leaves of an herb native to the Mediterranean (not to be confused with Mexican oregano, native to the Americas), is one of the most concentrated antioxidant sources ever studied. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, its antioxidant activity is between three and 20 times higher than that of any other herb. Even well-known antioxidant-containing fruits fail to measure up: Oregano has four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries, 12 times that of oranges and 42 times that of apples.
This tasty herb contains many minerals like copper, niacin, and beta-carotene, as well as other nourishing nutrients.
Oregano (as well as many other flavorful herbs including basil and rosemary) contains rosmarinic acid. This strong antioxidant helps to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk for cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis and premature aging. It is also an anti-inflammatory and a study published in the Clinical and Experimental Allergy, June 2004 showed that the oral administration of rosmarinic acid is an effective treatment for allergic asthma.
Oregano is also known to be rich in antibacterial properties, including the oils thymol and carvacrol. Research shows that these two compounds inhibit the growth of many kinds of bacteria.
Studies in Mexico have shown that oregano can help to clear giardia more effectively than Tinidazol, which is the usual drug given to treat this condition. Giardia is a common bacteria ingested through food. It can cause everything from mild digestive problems to very serious illness.
Researchers at the University of Ogden, Utah have found that oregano essential oil can effectively fight streptococcus, which can cause pneumonia and other infections of the upper respiratory system.
Studies have also revealed that Oil of Oregano can stop the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella. Use oregano as emergency medicine to eliminate digestive distress after eating contaminated food. Oregano not only kills E.Coli and salmonella, but virtually all other food-borne pathogens. Don’t travel without it.
This amazing super herb can also destroy viruses and fungi, which is why it oregano oil is often used during anti Candida (fungi) cleanses.
While you can get some of these benefits from just cooking regularly with oregano, a more concentrated form may sometimes be required. That’s why the essential oil of oregano is a common remedy for bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. It’s so effective — and tastes so good — that some restaurants actually sprinkle oregano oil over their salad bars to prevent them from becoming breeding grounds for bacteria. And because of the high antioxidant content in the oil, it probably keeps the salad fresh for longer, too!
Health-e-Solutions comment: When I had a bout with shingles I used oil of oregano for its anti-viral properties. It worked! It shortened the cycle and so sped up the healing process. That made a believer out of me. It has many uses and should be a staple in your herbal supplement arsenal. Since viruses are associated with higher incidence of type 1 diabetes, it is probably a good idea to try to minimize their duration and severity if possible. Oil of oregano might by a good ally for this.
We buy the oil in a bottle with a dropper, not the capsules. We think it is better (faster-acting) to drop it into the mouth sublingually, or into a mouthful of water. Make sure there are no other additives to the oil. The kind we get is in an extra virgin olive oil base – that is the only other ingredient. Don’t get it in a glycerin base if you can avoid it.
The most important key ingredient of oregano oil is carvacrol. When you look for oregano oil to buy, always check the amount of carvacrol and thymol present. In the market, the oregano oil often comes in much different strength. Basically, the higher the concentration of carvacrol, the much stronger it is as an antimicrobial agent. You will notice that many supplement manufacturers will list out the percentage of carvacrol and thymol that you will be getting in each dose, while only a few brands actually giving out the total amount of carvacrol.
Pay attention that since carvacrol is the most active ingredient in the bottle of oregano oil that you are going to buy, it is common sense to get one that has the highest percentage of carvacrol. You will find that the range of carvacrol content would be from 50 percent to 85 percents in many different brands. Generally, the brands that sell higher concentration of carvacrol will be more expensive than the ones selling lower concentrations of it. Thymol on the other hand is not at all useless as it also does have anti-microbial powers. However, high concentrations of thymol are not desirable as it is not suitable for internal consumption. Find for a brand that contains low level thymol.
Oregano oil is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the origanum vulgare plant and most manufacturers use steam distillation to produce the oregano oil. High quality oregano oil must come from organically grown plants that are not exposed to pesticides and chemicals. Find for a reputable company that sells oregano oil with a ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ label if you can, which will be a good sign of the quality of the product. The best quality oregano oil should come from manufacturers that use oregano plants that are grown wild on native soils, handpicked, pesticide and herbicide-free, are ecologically conscious and have feedback programs in place.
We get our oregano oil from Sprouts Food Stores and we buy the Sprouts brand