Oregano is usually thought of as a culinary herb used in Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cooking, but it has also been used for many centuries as a medicinal plant.
Traditionally, the health benefits of oregano oil have been used to treat a wide range of conditions from bacterial and viral infections to parasites and asthma. Although oregano oil is the most-often form used for medicinal purposes, the spice oregano could be presumed to provide many of the same benefits when consumed regularly.
Not coincidentally, oregano has one of the highest levels of antioxidants found in any spice or food. Ounce-for-ounce, oregano has shown 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than blueberries.
Oregano has good amounts of vitamin K and, iron, manganese and fiber. It's also a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids.
It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as oregano have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable source. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them one of the top antioxidant foods around.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
Antioxidants work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
The health benefits of oregano are often obtained using oregano oil, extracted by steam distillation from fresh oregano leaves. for centuries, people have recognized the antibacterial and disinfectant properties of oregano oil and used it for treatment of different infections of skin, diseases and wounds.
Anti viral and anti bacterial properties. Oregano oil has anti viral and anti bacterial properties. It thus provides protection against many infections caused by bacteria and viruses. This includes colds, mumps, measles, pox and other problems created by viruses.
Oregano protects you against most of the diseases caused by bacteria, such as infections, typhoid, cholera, skin infections and food poisoning. The health benefits of oregano provide natural immunization against diseases like cold, pox, measles, mumps.
Anti fungal and anti parasitic properties. Oregano oil is very useful against many fungi and parasites. Regular use of oregano oil, internally and externally, protects against fungal infections. Oregano oil, when ingested, gets you rid of many types of parasites, such as round worms and tape worms.
Other health benefits of oregano oil.
Oregano oil is good on relieving any type of inflammation, internal or
external, and can offer relief from allergies. Oregano oil promotes
digestion and relieves congestion and pain, without side effects.
The health benefits of oregano are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. However, as with any herb or spice, you may find it impractical to include oregano in your meal plans that often.
There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some oregano and other spices to your recipe. Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I personally use herbs such as basil, cilantro and parsley in my green smoothie recipes to give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and others in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on How to Make a Smoothie the Healthy Way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
More about oregano and ways to use it:
The World's Healthiest Foods/Oregano
If you want to get all of the health benefits of oregano, you'll want to stay away from typical supermarket brands of bottled spices. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present.
Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, I've got a wonderful online source for premium-quality organic spices — Starwest Botanicals.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
Click on any of the following links to get more information on
the health benefits of specific herbs and spices:
Protect the Future of Your Food Supply