Oregano is a culinary and medicinal herb from the mint, or Lamiaceae family. It has been used in medicine and cooking for thousands of years. It adds flavor, and it may have a number of health benefits.
The name of the herb comes from the Greek words “oros,” meaning mountain, and “ganos,” meaning joy. It typically grows around 50 cm tall and has purple leaves around 2 to 3 centimeters in length.
It is believed to contain potent antioxidants and to have anti-bacterial properties.
Oregano was used in herbal medicine as long ago as the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic. Possible medicinal uses of oregano include treating respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. Applied topically, it may help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and dandruff.
Oregano oil contains an essential compound called carvacrol, which has antimicrobial properties.
The herb has shown antimicrobial activity in a number of studies. One group of researchers found that Origanum vulgare essential oils were effective against 41 strains of the food pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
Another team from India and the United Kingdom (U.K.) reported that the essential oil of Himalayan oregano has strong antibacterial properties that may protect against the hospital superbug, MRSA.
We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000. The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapor and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water.”
Prof. Vyv Salisbury, the University of the West of England, Bristol