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The Top Benefits of Oregano Oil: Nature's Potent Remedy

Medically reviewed by 
 
The Top Benefits of Oregano Oil: Nature's Potent Remedy

Oregano oil is a natural remedy that’s been used in folk medicine for centuries, and it’s gaining popularity for its broad range of health and wellness perks. 

Whether used for treating respiratory diseases, pain, microbial infections, digestive problems, or skin diseases, oregano oil benefits are endless. They’re supported by scientific evidence and traditional uses. Learn more about the advantages of this versatile medicinal oil.

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Understanding Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is sourced from oregano (Origanum vulgare), a perennial flowering plant native to Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. Oregano is a dried spice commonly used to flavor foods in cooking. 

Oregano and its oils are rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, caryophyllene, limonene, terpinene, eugenol, rosmarinic acid, ocimene, thymol, carvacrol, and many other antioxidants and active compounds responsible for its health benefits. 

Oregano oil extracts have been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for numerous conditions, including:

  • Parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Fevers
  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Bronchitis
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Wounds

This oil has antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiparasitic properties. While oregano oil isn’t approved as a therapy for diseases or other medical conditions, it’s available over-the-counter as a dietary supplement (capsules and oil solutions) and essential oils you can dilute and apply to your skin. 

Oregano oil is extracted from the Origanum vulgare plant’s flowers and dried leaves. Oregano essential oils are prepared by air drying the leaves and shoots; then extracting and concentrating the oil using steam distillation. These oils are often mixed with carrier oils for topical use. Oregano oil extract is made using alcohol, carbon dioxide, or other extraction methods. 

Antimicrobial Properties of Oregano Oil

One of oregano oil’s health benefits involves its antimicrobial effects against viruses, fungi, and bacteria. One study found that carvacrol and thymol present in oregano oil may delay the disease progression of HIV and other viruses.

Another study shows the benefits of using oregano oil to combat typhoid fever, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, and Staphylococcal infections.

Researchers confirm oregano oil’s ability to fight Candida albicans (yeast) and Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an infection caused by staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics traditionally used to treat staph infections. 

Supporting Digestive Health with Oregano Oil

Oregano oil benefits also include advantages for the digestive system. Research shows that people with small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) who took herbal supplements containing oregano oil had less gut bacterial growth and fewer negative gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. 

Therefore, oregano oil may help balance the gut microbiome.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is loaded with antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the body and protect against oxidative stress. This minimizes the risk of developing chronic diseases, as oxidative stress is linked to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, chronic inflammation, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and some types of cancer

Respiratory Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

Oregano oil can support respiratory health, treating respiratory disorders like flu, colds, bronchitis, coughing, asthma, and others. The reasons for these benefits may be linked to more than 60 beneficial components present in oregano’s flowers and leaves, including flavonoids, polyphenols, carvacrol, and thymol.

Oregano oil’s antimicrobial and antiviral properties allow it to help clear away congestion and fight respiratory infections, helping you feel better faster with a lower risk of becoming sick. 

Supporting Immune Function with Oregano Oil

Oregano oil bolsters the immune system, as its antimicrobial and antioxidant activities contribute to enhanced immune system functioning. The immune-boosting response of oregano oil has to do with its polyphenol and other antioxidant components that reduce inflammation, lessen oxidative stress, and build up immunity.

Pain Relief with Oregano Oil

Oregano oil benefits include its analgesic properties for pain management. More specifically, this oil appears to help lessen muscle pain, headaches, and arthritis discomfort. One study found that oregano supplementation helps reduce muscle damage, while another showed that carvacrol in oregano oil inhibits inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis.

Additional research demonstrates the benefits of carvacrol for reducing migraines, mainly due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways. 

Skin Health and Topical Uses of Oregano Oil

Applying oregano oil topically contributes to healthier skin. Research touts the effects of oregano oil on fungal infections and acne. This is due, at least in part, to oregano’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.

Additional studies show that essential oregano oil may help prevent signs of skin aging, skin cancer, skin pigmentation issues, and skin inflammation concerns (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne) because of its antioxidant effects on the skin. 

Applying oregano oil to your skin in a diluted form reduces the potential for skin irritation.

Safety Considerations and Potential Side Effects

While there are many health and wellness benefits associated with oregano oil, potential side effects exist too. 

Applying too much oregano oil to your skin can cause irritation and ingesting it in high doses may lead to side effects like heartburn, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, nausea, headaches, dizziness, or allergic reactions. However, there are no reports of clinically significant liver injury linked to oregano oil. 

Because oregano oil can cause miscarriage in pregnant women, avoid using it during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or if you’re a woman of childbearing age who may become pregnant. Children should also avoid using oregano oil unless their doctor says it's okay.

If you have a medical condition, ask your provider before using any dietary supplements, including oregano oil. 

Avoid oregano oil if you’re allergic to basil, lavender, sage, or mint (you’re likely also allergic to oregano oil); have a bleeding disorder; or take medications known to alter blood clotting. Oregano oil may interfere with lithium, diuretics, or other medicines. 

Oregano supplement capsules or diluted oil solutions are designed for consumption. However, dietary supplements don’t require pre-marketing FDA approval, so always check with your doctor to determine if you should use them and which dosage is the most appropriate for you. It’s vital to never ingest the essential oil form of oregano. 

Oregano oil is not approved as a treatment for diseases or other medical conditions in the United States, but it’s available over the counter. Dose recommendations listed on oregano oil supplement labels vary based on the concentration of the oil. 

There are no official dosage guidelines for oregano oil, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) as a food ingredient. 

Incorporating Oregano Oil into Your Wellness Routine

There are several ways to incorporate oregano oil into your daily wellness routine, whether you ingest it or apply the oil topically to your skin.

Follow the dosage instructions listed on oregano oil supplement packaging or apply a few drops of the edible form to foods after cooking them; make sure to mix edible oregano into the food before consuming it. 

Don’t ingest oregano oil in its essential oil form. However, you can dilute 1-2 drops of oregano oil into 1 teaspoon of water, coconut oil, olive oil, or another carrier oil and apply it to your skin. 

It’s important to take a one-week break after a three-week bout of using oregano oil. Since the substance is powerful, start with the smallest dose possible and see how your body reacts. Slowly increase the dosage as instructed by your doctor and never exceed the dose recommendations listed on oregano oil supplement labels. 

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Key Takeaways

Oregano oil offers multifaceted benefits as a natural remedy. It maximizes health and wellness when used responsibly under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Never ingest essential oil forms of oregano oil and use caution when trying oregano supplements if you have a medical condition. 

Dilute essential oregano oils before applying them to your skin to avoid irritation and follow dosage or dilution instructions provided by ingestible oregano oils.

You can reap the benefits of fewer respiratory infections, a lower risk of chronic diseases, healthier skin, less pain, a stronger immune system, fewer infections, and improved digestive health when using oregano oil safely.

Take advantage of superior oregano oil benefits as an alternative way to treat health concerns without harsh medications or naturally reduce the risk of illnesses, diseases, and infections.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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