This cold and flu season, there’s an old natural remedy that’s getting some new attention: oil of oregano. With more than 40 different types of oregano plants, oil of oregano is not to be confused with the cooking spice (Origanum Marjoram). Oil of oregano is steam distilled from the leaves of the Origanum Vulgare oregano plant, which has the reputation of being one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics.
Carvacrol, a compound found in oil of oregano, has been shown in studies to help protect the immune system from harmful bacteria. From fighting viruses and infections, to improving digestive health and joint flexibility, check out these five health benefits of oil of oregano.
1. Relieve sinus congestion. If your head is feeling a little stuffy, oil of oregano can be a natural remedy. Try clearing your nasal passages by inhaling the aroma of a few drops of oil in a diffuser.
2. Helps fight off colds. At the first sign of a cold or sore throat, add three drops of oil to a glass of orange juice and drink once daily up to five days. Oil of oregano should always be diluted with a liquid like juice, water, milk, etc. before taking.
3. Promote digestive health. Rich in carvacrol and thymol, oil of oregano has been show in studies to aid in digestion and may help fight parasite infections and reduce diarrhea. The next time you’re experiencing mild indigestion, drink a glass of milk or juice that has 2 or 3 drops of oil.
4. Treat skin infections. Oregano oil can be used as a topical ointment to treat cold sores, nail fungus and even dandruff. It’s important to note that the oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut, olive, jojoba or grapeseed. Add 10-12 drops of oregano oil per ounce of your carrier oil and apply to skin that is not broken once a day (or up to three times per day).
5. Fight bad breath. You may recognize the thymol in oil of oregano as an ingredient in many mouthwashes. It keeps to kill bacteria. Add just a drop or two of oil to your toothbrush before brushing to help reduce bacteria, plaque and foul breath.
In addition to the oil, you can also purchase oil of oregano in a capsule form.
Safety First: Things To Know Before Using Oil Of Oregano
It’s important to use herbs with caution. Oil of oregano is highly potent and is recommended only for short-term use and not as a daily supplement. It can interfere with iron absorption and reduce blood flow.
Those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, as well as infants and children, and pregnant or nursing women, should not use oregano oil.
Consult your doctor before using if possible. If you notice any negative side effects while using oil of oregano, such as skin rash, swelling or difficulty breathing, discontinue use and see your doctor.