Oregano oil, or oil of oregano, is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant and has been used in folk medicine for centuries as a deterrent against illness. Today, many people still use oregano oil to fight infections and the common cold despite its renowned bitter, unpleasant taste.
Although more research is needed into the health benefits of oregano oil, studies have confirmed that it has the following properties:
- Cancer suppressor agents
One teaspoon of dried oregano leaves contains:
- Calories: 2.65
- Protein: 0.09 gram
- Fat: 0.04 gram
- Carbohydrates: 0.69 gram
- Fiber: 0.42 gram
- Sugar: 0.04 gram
Oregano is a good source of:
Potential Health Benefits of Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. However, the same thing that makes oregano oil so potent can also create complications for people with certain medical conditions.
Research has found a number of potential health benefits to consuming oregano oil:
Several studies have shown the powerful antibacterial properties of oregano oil, even against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
In one study that tested the antibacterial effects of a range of essential oils, oregano oil was found to be the most powerful inhibitor of bacterial growth.
Because of its ability to protect against bacterial infection, topical oregano oil has been shown to be effective in wound treatment and healing, even killing off methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
In addition to being a powerful antimicrobial agent, oregano oil also has anti-inflammatory effects. One study showed that oregano essential oil significantly inhibited several inflammatory biomarkers in skin.
Improvement of Acne
Because of its combined antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, oregano oil may help improve the appearance of acne by reducing blemishes. Since using oral antibiotics to treat acne has a range of potential side effects, oregano oil may provide a safe and effective alternative when used topically.
Potential Risks of Oregano Oil
Because oregano oil has such potent ingredients, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. Consider the following before using oregano oil either internally or topically:
Because oregano oil is such a powerful antimicrobial agent, it can also be toxic to humans. Taken in large doses, oregano oil can even be lethal. Only use the recommended amount of oregano to yield its benefits. Further studies into the toxic effect of oil of oregano on humans is needed.
Although oregano oil can help some skin ailments like acne, it may be irritating for people with sensitive skin. Don’t apply undiluted oregano oil directly to your skin. Patch test any products containing oregano oil to ensure they won’t cause any adverse effects. Additional research on skin irritation caused by oregano oil on humans is required.
Avoid oregano oil if you’re already taking a diuretic, as their side effects may be compounded. Since oregano has natural diuretic properties, it may interfere with the action of lithium and similar medications.