Fight A Bacterial Infection With Oregano
When I worked at the Nebraska Lottery, the running joke of the day was to ask me what healthy foods I would secretly hide in my kiddos’ favorite meals. Being a “Type A” new mom, I knew for sure that our kids were deficient in something if I gave them brownies as a desert. Ironically, the slew of celebrity wives in the early 2000s started a trend of writing cookbooks showing how they added prunes to brownies. I was hooked. I bought all those cookbooks and tried all their recipes. Too much of my dismay, my smart little ones figured out there was just something different about those recipes. “Yuk,” was their usual response.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for boosting up the nutritional value of any meal or snack for my family. I think I was just missing the point. Many of our unaltered unprocessed foods are nutritional powerhouses on their own with no need to alter them. Take the herb, Oregano, for example. It ranks number three (3) out of ten (10) on the ORAC score for the top antioxidant herbs. Overall, herbs have a higher ORAC scores than most food. Why hide healthy food to boost nutritional values when you can add Oregano to complement a meal and boost its antioxidant ability?
Oregano’s Ninja Like Moves
Oregano is able to help your immune system because of its Ninja-type ability to fight bacteria. This antibacterial herb has thymol and carvacrol properties. Whether digested, applied topically, or inhaled, Oregano has the ability to defend bacteria intruders that impact the body. Traditionally, this evocative Mediterranean region herb was used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, heart issues, headaches, and even energy level concerns. But, alternative medicine folklore has used Oregano for centuries as a body detox possibly to fight off bacterial infections or increase immunity.
In 2001, Georgetown University Medical Center found, “Oil from the common herb oregano may be an effective treatment against dangerous and sometimes drug-resistant bacteria, a Georgetown researcher has found. Two studies have shown that oregano oil—and, in particular, carvacrol, one of oregano’s chemical components—appears to reduce infection as effectively as traditional antibiotics.” The researcher combined oregano oil with the bacteria in a testing environment and then compared the effectiveness of Oregano against other forms of standard antibiotics streptomycin, penicillin and vacnomycin. The researcher found, “The oregano oil at relatively low doses was found to inhibit the growth of staphylococcus bacteria in the test tubes as effectively as the standard antibiotics did.”
Emerging research is showing that Oregano has anti-viral properties too. In one research study, Oregano had a kill rate of 99% against Strep. Oregano is that unsung hero against our viral evil enemy in our herbal movie. But, we can discuss this another time. But, why is the Veggie Tales theme song now playing in my head?
Let’s Use Oregano In Our Natural Remedies
To fight off a bacterial infection, you can take Oregano in a variety of forms:
Drink a cup of Oregano tea! To make a tea, steep one heaping teaspoon of Oregano leaves in 8 ounces of boiling water for ten minutes. Strain and drink! You can add honey to your tea to sweeten.
Take a capsule: If you prefer not to drink a tea to get the health benefits of Oregano, you can purchase Oregano capsules from your favorite health food store or grocer. Follow the dose instructions on the bottle.
Try Aromatherapy: Inhale Oregano essential oil three times a day. For an extra immune supporting boost, add thyme, rosemary, and eucalyptus to the Oregano. Inhale this essential oils mixture three to six times a day.
Take a bath: Steep about half a cup of Oregano leaves in about four cups of water for ten minutes. Strain and add to a full bath. Get in and soak! I imagine adding some dehydrated flowers to make me feel like I’m at a spa. But, I’m that silly person that replaced her bathtub with a shower.
Let’s Use Our Oregano In Our Meals
There is no doubt that Oregano is one of the most utilized herbs in culinary meals. Known for its ability to turn any Italian dish into a masterpiece, Oregano adds its pungent flavor to any meal. Whether fresh, dehydrated, or freeze dried, Oregano’s leaves are used as culinary flavorings in Italian dishes like pizza and pasta, Greek dishes like Greek salads, and in American dishes like roast, lamb, pork and meatloaf. It’s best herbal partners are Ajowan, Basil, Bay Leaf, Chile, Garlic, Marjoram, Paprika, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, and Thyme. Consider adding dried Oregano at the beginning of cooking and then fresh at the end. A great flavor combination in a salad dressing is oregano, garlic, and lemon. For marinades, try oregano, lemon juice and olive oil.
A Few Precautions….
When digesting large amount of oregano, it can cause an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues. I’m not a big super fan of digesting essential oils because of the large amounts of concentrated properties one is digesting into the body. Whether digesting essential oils or large medicinal doses of Oregano, it may overwhelm one’s body and potentially cause allergic reactions. Yes, digesting essential oils has its times and places; but overall I leave the digestion to herbs and spices in their original state to deter reactions caused by large doses.
You may want to stay away from medicinal doses of oregano if you are taking anti-coagulant, anti-platelet, and anti-diabetes herbs, supplements, or medicines. In addition, preliminary research shows that Oregano may lower absorption rates of iron and zinc. Do not use Oregano if you have any bleeding disorders, herbal allergies, diabetes, or if you have a pending surgery. Please consult your doctor before starting any new herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals into your daily routine.
Oregano is a staple in our garden and hopefully in yours. I encourage you to get out of your same old routine of using Oregano in certain dishes you prepare and expand your culinary horizons with Oregano! For more information about how herbs and spices can heal, please “like” and “follow” our Herbal Farmwife Facebook page or go to www.herbalfarmwife.com
Blessings, Herbal Farmwife
DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals mentioned in this posting. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends. Please note that none of these statements have been evaluated by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration.
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Oregano Oil May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Georgetown Researcher Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011011065609.htm>.
Vimalanathan S, Hudson J. Anti-influenza virus activities of commercial oregano oils and their carriers. J App Pharma Sci 2012;2:214
Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.