Oregano is a plant. The leaf is used to make medicine.
Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions.
The oil of oregano is taken by mouth for intestinal parasites, allergies, sinus pain, arthritis, cold and flu, swine flu, earaches, and fatigue. It is applied to the skin for skin conditions including acne, athlete's foot, oily skin, dandruff, canker sores, warts, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain, and varicose veins. Oregano oil is also used topically as an insect repellent.
In foods and beverages, oregano is used as a culinary spice and a food preservative.
How does it work?
Oregano contains chemicals that might help reduce cough and spasms. Oregano also might help digestion by increasing bile flow and fighting against some bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms, and other parasites.
Possibly Effective for:
- High cholesterol. Clinical research shows that taking oregano after each meal for 3 months can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. However, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels are not affected.
- Parasites in the intestines. Taking oil of oregano for 6 weeks can kill the parasites Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana.
- Bleeding disorders (hemophilia). Early research suggests that oregano might not prevent bleeding after dental procedures in people with hemophilia.
- Wound healing. Early research suggests that applying an oregano extract to the skin twice daily for up to 14 days can improve skin color, stiffness, and thickness, but does not improve itching, pain, or scars, in people who have had portions of skin removed surgically.
- Repelling insects.
- Indigestion and bloating.
- Painful menstrual periods.
- Heart conditions.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Oregano leaf is LIKELY SAFE when taken in the amounts found in food and POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in medicinal amounts. Mild side effects include stomach upset. Oregano might also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to plants in the Lamiaceae family.
Not enough is known about the safety of using oregano oil in medicinal amounts.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Oregano is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. There is concern that oregano in amounts larger than food amounts might cause miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of oregano when used in medicinal amounts while nursing.
Bleeding disorders: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergies: Oregano can cause reactions in people allergic to Lamiaceae family plants, including basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, and sage.
Diabetes: Oregano might lower blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should use oregano cautiously.
Surgery: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding. People who use oregano should stop 2 weeks before surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Lithium interacts with OREGANO
Oregano might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking oregano might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For intestinal parasites: 200 mg of oil of oregano three times daily for 6 weeks.