Wild Oregano Oil
Wild Oregano Oil. Is it really the cure all?
By Candace Borg, Northcote Natural Therapies
It seems that almost all products that are designed to improve the immune system and fight off bugs are now including wild oregano oil. But why? What is so special about it? Why do many label it the ‘King of herbs’?
Firstly, let’s discuss some important facts about wild oregano. Oregano is a member of the mint family and is zesty, lemony and peppery to taste. There are over 60 species of oregano or oregano-like plants, but only a few of these actually contain medicinal properties. To be medicinal, the oregano species you are looking for is Origanum vulgare, which is commonly known as European/Mediterranean Oregano or Mountain mint. The oregano that you purchase from the supermarket unfortunately is not one of the medicinal types.
The name oregano is derived from the Greek word origanon, which translates to ‘joy of mountains’. Although oregano grows all over the world, it is most commonly found in the Mediterranean and in North America growing wild in remote mountainous regions. It is the environment in which wild oregano grows that gives it its medicinal properties. The oil of wild oregano is produced using the leaves, which are harvested when the plant is flowering. The leaves are then steam distilled to extract the beautiful beneficial properties that wild oregano oil is so well known for.
As with all essential oils, quality varies greatly depending on where the plant is grown, how and when it is harvested and how it is manufactured. All these variables affect the quantity of the four main chemical components in oregano oil. These chemical components are:
- phenols (namely carvacrol and thymol, which are antioxidant and antiseptic)
- terpenes (pinene and terpinene, which are antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic)
- long-chain alcohols (linalool and bonreol, which are antiseptic and antiviral)
- esters (linalyl acetate and geranyl acetate, which are antifungal).
Carvacrol is the primary component of oregano oil being at about 60 to 70 per cent of the chemical component of the oil. Carvacrol has been proven to be a more effective antibiotic than the strongest antibiotics known to modern medicine; penicillin, streptomycin and vancomycin. So you may be asking why medicine doesn’t just make carvacrol? Well, like all plants, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, meaning that the synergistic combination of these four chemicals in the ratio that nature provided is more therapeutic than any of the chemical components in isolation. Carvacrol in isolation is also very acidic and burns if it comes into contact with bodily tissue. This is why all therapeutic oregano oils are diluted using a carrier oil (namely olive oil).
OK, now that we have the bland scientific part over, let’s talk about why this oil is so great! Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, which can create mutant, antibiotic resistant bacteria, oregano oil does not do this, nor does it have any negative side effects if taken as prescribed. Oregano oil is also selective in which bugs it kills, unlike antibiotics. It feeds vitamins and minerals to the good bugs that our bodies need while killing the bugs that cause illness. What a clever oil!
Wild oregano oil is rich in many nutrients, namely calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin B3. It can be taken internally or used externally to treat numerous conditions such as:
- infections (caused by bacteria, fungus, parasites, moulds and viruses)
- hormonal irregularities (period pain and menopausal symptoms)
- digestive disorders (indigestion, bloating, worms, constipation and diarrhoea)
- insect bites and acts as an insect repellent
- inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis, muscle pain, toothaches, earaches and gum disease)
- lung and sinus disorders (sinus pain, bronchitis, croup, asthma, coughs, colds and flus)
- skin conditions (psoriasis, acne, athletes foot, dandruff, rosacea, oily skin and varicose veins).
Oregano oil is very effective so tread carefully if you decide to take it. To use internally, start with one drop once daily and build up to one drop four times daily, in juice or mixed with honey. Do this for no more than 15 days at a time. To use it externally dilute one drop in a teaspoon of a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and rub this mixture over the affected area or on the soles of the feet (where it can be absorbed into your bloodstream). Remember the higher the carvacrol content of the oil, the more it burns so if you feel a tingle or a slight burn when you use the oil, add more carrier oil.
Amazing how one little oil can do so much! So next time you get hit with a nasty bug, reach for the oregano oil and get well sooner.
In good health,
Candace Borg BHSc (Naturopathy), BSc (Biomedicine)
Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator, HypnoBirthing Practitioner
Find out more about Candace and our partnership here.