Oregano (Origanum vulgare, also known as Wild Marjoram)
Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region, Europe and central and southern Asia. An attractive herb to grow in the garden, it has small purple flowers in the summer.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Oregano is used in Chinese medicine to treat fever, vomiting, dysentery, colds, jaundice and diarrhea. It is antiseptic, antiviral and antimicrobial. It has been used to promote menstruation and as a digestive aid. An herbal tea is useful for loss of appetite, indigestion, flatulence, bloating, nervousness, coughs, urinary problems, bronchial troubles, headaches and swollen glands. The herb can help lift depression and relieve flu and constipation.
Externally Oregano oil is used for many external ailments. It has traditionally been used for acne, rhinitis, athlete's foot, ingrown toenails, arthritis and neuritis. It is used in the mouth for canker sores and cavities. On the head and neck the oil is applied to treat dandruff, sore throat, headaches and hair loss.
Unsweetened herbal tea can be used as a mouthwash or gargle. The oil is effective against Candida albicans (yeast infections). The leaves can also be pounded into a paste, which can then be applied externally for swelling, itching, rheumatism and sore muscles. It has been proven historically to relieve pain and inflammation. It has also been used for eczema, head lice and warts.
Other Uses Oregano is used in many different cuisines, especially Italian and Greek. It goes well with tomatoes, meats and vegetables, and is very good with spicy dishes. When sprayed in the air, it is a good insecticide for fleas and infestations on plants.
Leaves, oil Oregano leaves and essential oil are both used medicinally, although be sure and check which one is indicated in a remedy, as they cannot be used interchangeably.
Oregano is considered a safe herb unless you have known allergies to the herb. If you are using the essential oil, you need to use care. It should not be taken internally. Pregnant women should not use essential oil. Some people may react with skin sensitivities to the topical use of the oil. If you have liver or gall bladder disease, do not use this herb medicinally.
Preparation and Dosage
Herbal tea can be made from either fresh or dried oregano leaf. Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of the leaf in hot water for about ten minutes. This herbal tea can be taken up to three times per day. Oil may be used topically for ailments like athlete's foot twice a day. Be sure the entire affected part is covered with each application. If this herbal medicine has not been prescribed for you, follow the directions on the label carefully.