The beneficial and medicinal properties of oregano
Oregano - what is it?
Oregano is one of the species of perennial spicy-aromatic bushy plants of the Clay family. The shrub has branched stems, which are covered with small oval leaves and small white or pinkish inflorescences. This plant is widespread in Europe, the Mediterranean countries and in Russia. Oregano grows, as a rule, in glades, forest edges, mountain slopes.
Oregano is mainly used in cooking - as a spice for sauces, meat, vegetables. Without this aromatic spice, it is impossible to imagine Italian cuisine with its pizza, pasta and various sausages. In France and Belgium, oregano is often added to mushroom dishes, vegetable soups, marinades, and baked goods. You can also add oregano to kvass, beer or wine - drinks acquire a special smell and are stored longer without souring.
Oregano has a very bright bitter-spicy, slightly burning taste, so you need to add very little of it to dishes. You can use both fresh leaves and dried, ground into powder. You can freeze oregano and it will keep its freshness for a long time. Thanks to this spice, the taste of cooked food becomes more delicate and rich. Oregano goes well with basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, pepper.
Oregano is often used for medicinal purposes - medicinal tea, decoctions, and infusions are prepared with flowers, leaves and stems. This plant is also used for external use in the form of lotions, compresses, and relaxing baths are also taken with it. In the perfumery and cosmetic industry, oregano is added to soaps, shampoos, facial lotions, and toothpaste.
Along with basil, oregano is the hallmark of such a popular Mediterranean cuisine. Oregano has been known for over 2000 years; the ancient Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates mentioned it in his writings. Translated from the Greek oregano as "mountain decoration", another common name is the common soul.
According to legends, animals wounded in the forests of Crete - deer, wild goats, were looking for this very grass, which was also called ash. The animals ate this herb, and the arrows soon left their bodies, the wounds healed, the effect of the poison, if the arrow was poisoned, was neutralized. This was noticed by people and also began to use oregano to heal wounds, and later other properties of this plant were discovered.
Benefits of oregano
First of all, oregano is a medicinal plant with a strong wound healing effect. Oregano leaves and flowers contain a large amount of essential oils, tannins. Oregano contains thymol and carvacrol, thanks to which this herb surpasses many existing antihistamines and antiseptic drugs in action. It has oregano and antimicrobial properties.
- Due to the high content of tannins, oregano is able to protect the body from the effects of food poisoning, prevent the growth of bacteria that have entered the body along with poor-quality food. Decoctions and tinctures of this herb will help get rid of diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence. On the other hand, using oregano can disguise the smell of stale food, passing it off as edible - be careful here.
- Oregano is a mild antispasmodic that can relieve many pains. Oregano works well for headaches, muscle pains and cramps. Use oregano oil to rub the back for rheumatism and radiculitis, for joint pain. A swab with a few drops of this oil applied to the tooth will save you from toothache.
For disorders of the nervous system, oregano is also recommended. It is believed that by adding it to food, you can get rid of insomnia. This herb raises tryptophan levels, promoting overall relaxation. Previously, this herb was often used to treat hysteria, epilepsy. Currently, doctors still do not recommend self-medication in cases of severe neuroses or depression, but herbal therapy is also quite suitable as a mild sedative that improves sleep. Often oregano is recommended for children who have increased excitability of the nervous system, excessive activity.
- During the menstrual period, women are advised to take a decoction of this herb, not only in order to relieve the pain symptom, but also to normalize the emotional state. Also, oregano is advised to use to prevent inflammatory diseases of the genitourinary system. Breastfeeding mothers with milk supply problems are advised to add oregano to their food. During menopause, decoctions from this plant help the body to rebuild easier and cope with hormonal disruptions. There is information that with the help of this plant, the early menopause can be "postponed" a little, allowing the ovaries to prolong their vigorous activity.
Oregano has a beneficial effect on the work of the gastrointestinal tract, improves intestinal peristalsis, increasing the tone of smooth muscles, and significantly increases the secretion of the digestive glands. This herb also helps with diseases of the biliary system - biliary dyskinesia, cholecystitis. Thus, we can talk about the mild laxative effect of this plant.
- A decoction of oregano is also an immunomodulating and general tonic, necessary for colds, during the period of an influenza epidemic. The beneficial effect of oregano on human immunity can be explained by the very serious content in its chemical composition of vitamins (group B, vitamin C, A, K, E) as well as micro- and macroelements (calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc).
- When treating colds, oregano will help to cope with coughs, even severe and chronic forms. For many, this herb helps stop asthma attacks, relieve pulmonary tuberculosis. This is due to the pronounced expectorant effect of active substances. In case of problems with the respiratory tract, it is advised to rinse the nasal cavity with a decoction of oregano - this helps with sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, tonsillitis. The herb has an anti-inflammatory effect, relieves itching and swelling. For angina, it is also advised to gargle with oregano broth.
- External use of oregano is also widespread. Sometimes compresses from infusions of this herb literally work wonders, relieving eczema, fungal diseases, acne, pustular lesions, neurodermatitis, abscesses. Oregano tincture is effective for herpes. This herb saves after insect bites, burns, frostbite. Baths and rubdowns with oregano have been successfully used for problems with sweating of the body and legs.
- In folk medicine, oregano decoctions are used to treat alcoholism, to get rid of depression. This herb is believed to be able to improve mood. Not so long ago, scientists discovered the possibility of oregano to have a beneficial effect on the condition of people affected by cancer, as well as prevent heart disease.
[Video] Dr. Berg talks about 14 scientifically proven benefits of oregano oil:
Oregano against worms and parasites
It turns out that the addiction of the inhabitants of the East and the Mediterranean to spices like oregano is no coincidence and is based not only on its pleasant taste and aroma. Recent medical research has shown that the carvacrol contained in oregano is very effective against microbes and parasites, which pose a serious threat to the health of people living in hot southern countries. If the peoples inhabiting these territories did not discover the miraculous properties of herbs and did not use them for food, it is possible that epidemics would destroy entire nations.
The active substances in which oregano is so rich are able to cope not only with viruses and microbes, but also very effectively destroy parasites that settle in the human body. In particular, giardia - small worms living in the small intestine, as well as the gallbladder of people, do not like oregano very much. Also, this herb is able to kill even the most resistant to potent antibiotics microbes, such as Staphylococcus aureus, the scourge of most hospitals. Scientists in their studies compared 18 modern antimicrobial drugs and came to the conclusion that oregano is more effective than any of these drugs.
The healing properties of oregano oil
- Oregano oil has the most pronounced antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal effects. In addition to the previously mentioned active component carvacrol, the oil also contains other elements with antiseptic properties. Preparations based on oregano oil are excellent for treating various skin diseases, acne, acne, warts, and herpes. This oil will also help get rid of nail fungus. Since ancient times, this remedy has been used to treat wounds - thus eliminating blood poisoning, wound inflammation, and providing faster healing.
- Oregano oil is also used internally: for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, infections of the genitourinary system, and the fight against parasites. taking this oil normalizes the production of bile and gastric juices, improves digestion. It is believed that oregano oil speeds up metabolic processes, therefore, helps to get rid of excess weight.
- During epidemics of influenza and ARVI, in order to avoid infection, it is recommended to clean the air in the room with an aroma lamp with oregano oil, and when in public places, you need to have a handkerchief with a few drops of such oil, and periodically breathe through it. In addition to its antibacterial effect, the oil also has a calming effect.
If you add a few drops of oregano essential oil to the base massage oil, you can achieve a mild analgesic effect, for example, for rheumatism or joint pain. It will be useful for the skin as well - inflammation will go away, cellulite will noticeably decrease. After such a massage, a sound and healthy sleep is also guaranteed.
It should be borne in mind that oregano oil is not used in a concentrated form - you must add it to some other vegetable oil - olive, sesame, etc.
What can replace oregano?
Oregano has a bright and unique aroma and taste that is associated with Italian cuisine. However, oregano has many "relatives" - herbs that have similar qualities.
The closest is marjoram - there are cases when oregano oil is replaced with marjoram, and the difference is almost imperceptible. In the process of cooking, housewives often use a mixture of mint with basil or parsley with dill instead of oregano; it also slightly resembles oregano, thyme and even cumin. It should only be borne in mind that all these herbs do not have healing properties even slightly close to oregano.
Contraindications to the use of oregano
Despite the numerous indications for taking this miraculous plant, some people are not recommended to use it. First of all, this applies to people who have serious disorders in the work of the cardiovascular system, as well as acute diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (for example, a stomach or duodenal ulcer). People with liver and kidney disease are also advised to be careful when taking oregano. It should also be said that this plant can negatively affect the action of some medications. In addition, some people have an individual intolerance to herbs.
Women must be aware that during pregnancy, taking oregano can cause uterine contractions and spontaneous miscarriage. Men should remember that oregano - has a strong sedative effect, therefore, reduces libido and negatively affects the quality of potency. And the regular use of decoctions and infusions from this plant can lead to impotence.
The author of the article: Sokolova Nina Vladimirovna | Phytotherapist
Education: Diploma in "General Medicine" and "Therapy" received at the Pirogov University (2005 and 2006). Advanced training at the Department of Phytotherapy at the Peoples' Friendship University of Moscow (2008).