There are a number of medicinal uses of oregano (Origanum vulgare) that may surprise you.

A powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, oregano also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties. It’s typically taken as a supplement or used as an essential oil.

Antioxidant Properties of Oregano

Oregano contains thymol and rosmarinic acid that work on the body to minimize the destructive effects of free radicals.

According to researchers at the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland, a tablespoon of fresh oregano contains as much antioxidant power as a medium-sized apple

There is a lot of current medical interest in the ability of antioxidants to help repair damage to the body on a cellular level and combat cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, macular degeneration and help slow geriatric muscle deterioration.

Anti-Fungal Properties

Historically used as a food preservative, oregano has some impressive credentials as an anti-fungal. Fungal infections can be nasty customers and even fatal in some circumstances.

It has been used as both an internal and external preparation in treating fungal infections and has been tested successfully in inhibiting the growth of yeasts like Candida albicans.

Antibiotic Properties

It might just be the little herb that can. A phenol in oregano, carvacrol is generating interest for its powerful ability to kill bacteria.

Preliminary tests conducted at Georgetown University suggest that oregano’s antibacterial muscle may rival that of streptomycin and penicillin.

Other Medicinal Uses

If you plan on keeping oregano in your medicine cabinet, there are some other uses for this herb that you should know about.

It can be used as a digestive aid because it encourages salivation. It can soothe bee stings and treat venomous spider and snakebites. It is also an efficient pain reliever.

Oregano Medicinal Uses

Proponents of herbal medicine and some physicians began using oregano during the nineteenth century to promote menstruation. The EBSCO Health Library advises that the oil from oregano plants is toxic to certain varieties of fungi and parasites.

Cautions when Using Oregano

Although herbs and spices may appear benign because they are used in cooking, concentrated doses can lead to problems.

It has many medicinal applications that can help you get and stay well but consult your doctor before making any changes or additions to the medications you are taking.

This herb can cause skin irritations in some people and should be avoided if you are pregnant or nursing.

Fast Facts

  1. Contains iron, vitamin E, vitamin C, copper, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.
  2. A native to the Mediterranean, it is a perennial in the mint family. It is widely used as a seasoning in Italian dishes, including pizza sauce.
  3. Steep two tablespoons of fresh oregano in eight ounces of water for five minutes to create a refreshing antioxidant tea.
  4. Sometimes taken as a supplement to help avoid colds and flu.
  5. Can be used to treat head lice.
  6. It is a welcome addition to a long list of antioxidant-rich herbs like garlic, thyme, peppermint, and sage.


*This article was originally published at By Sara Elliot.