antiseptic, stomach and respiratory ailments, anti-fungal, antibacterial, cancer.
Oregano is one of those herbs that most everyone knows and loves. Pizza, lasagne, pastas … and the list goes on. Who doesn’t love the Italian food so richly spiced with oregano and basil and marjoram?
But in recent years, there have been studies conducted on the medicinal qualities of oregano and a naturally occurring compound within the herb. And they’ve found some pleasing results, especially to those of us who love Italian food.
Oregano is an herbaceous perennial herb that grows to about 20 inches tall sporting pink flowers that typically bloom late July through September. It has opposite pointed olive green leaves. Golden Oregano is part of the mint family and delightfully, is attractive to butterflies.
Oregano prefers a well-drained soil and full sun, but in regions farther south, it benefits from a little afternoon shade. Oregano grows beautifully in containers, too.
Because oregano spreads easily, in late spring, cut it back to one-third of its size in order to make the plant bushier.
Bonney Plants recommends harvesting “plants often for continued new growth. Begin by snipping sprigs of oregano as soon as the plant is several inches tall. The flavor of oregano is most intense in mid-summer, just before it blooms, making this the best time to harvest leaves for drying. This herb is stronger dried than fresh. For a big harvest, cut the stems just above the plant’s lowest set of leaves; this encourages new growth for the next cutting in late summer. Oregano leaves may be dried, frozen, or refrigerated.”
Early medicinal uses for oregano were detailed by Hippocrates. It was used antiseptic as well as stomach and respiratory ailments. Often oregano leaves were used in poultices and applied to muscle pain or insect bites. It is high in antioxidants and has shown antimicrobial activities against strains of listeria.
A 2008 British study reported in the UK’s Daily Mail found that minuscule amounts of a naturally occurring compound in oregano called carvacrol can, “Sterilize septic water, kill giardia, treat fungal infections such as candida and rivals pharmaceutical antibiotics such as streptomycin and penicillin in its ability to eliminate microbes.
Preliminary research into the oil found that tiny doses are capable of wiping out fungi and bacteria, including MRSA.”
In 2012, new studies continue to sustain previous research into how beneficial carvacrol can be to our bodies. They also indicate that oregano may also extend beyond its ability to fight bacteria. New research from Long Island University is showing that the compound found in oregano is effectively eliminating cancer cells; most specifically that of prostate cancer.
“We used various concentrations of this drug and we were happy to see that caused complete inhibition of cell growth,” said Supriyah Bavadekar, professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Science center at Long Island University.
“Bavadekar’s team is still running tests on carvacrol, but preliminary reports have revealed that the compound is an extremely potent anti-cancer agent – eliminating nearly all the prostate cancer cells it was tested against,” says Fox News.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. Always consult with your physician before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Medicinal Herb Garden Series:
Below is a list of posts we’ve compiled on common herbs found in historic medicinal gardens. Each post contains information of the herb’s medicinal uses, growing tips, and more.