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Oregano

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What other names is Oregano known by?

Carvacrol, Dostenkraut, European Oregano, Huile d'Origan, Marjolaine Bâtarde, Marjolaine Sauvage, Marjolaine Vivace, Mediterranean Oregano, Mountain Mint, Oil of Oregano, Oregano Oil, Organy, Origan, Origan Européen, Origani Vulgaris Herba, Origano, Origanum, Origanum vulgare, Phytoprogestin, Spanish Thyme, Thé Sauvage, Thym des Bergers, Wild Marjoram, Winter Marjoram, Wintersweet.

What is Oregano?

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.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Parasites 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.
  • Wound healing. 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.
  • Acne.
  • Allergies.
  • Arthritis.
  • Asthma.
  • Athlete's foot.
  • Bleeding disorders.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Cough.
  • Dandruff.
  • Flu.
  • Headaches.
  • Heart conditions.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Indigestion and bloating.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Painful menstrual periods.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI).
  • Varicose veins.
  • Warts.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate oregano for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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