Oregano Home Remedies — 6 Natural Benefits of Oregano – Prevention Magazine

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It can do a heck of a lot more than make your pasta sauce taste good.
Oregano has been used for centuries to flavor dishes and preserve foods with its antimicrobial properties. Medical uses date back to Greek and Roman times, when the herb was used as an antiseptic. In fact, oregano contains the antioxidants carvacrol and thymol, which studies have shown have anti-inflammatory effects, according to Yalda Shokoohinia, Pharm.D., Ph.D., professor of pharmoconosy and phytochemistry at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.
You might be surprised to learn there are actually 60 plants known as oregano, but the most common is Origanum vulgare, which is in the same family as mint. Native to the Mediterranean, it’s now grown all over the world. It’s perennial in most climates and drought-tolerant once established, plus it’s naturally resistant to diseases and pests. Oregano is typically easy for home gardeners to grow in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight) in containers or in the ground and it’s also simple to dry fresh oregano for future use.
In terms of health benefits, research has shown that oregano may play a role in treating drug-resistant pathogens. For example, one study showed thymol had antifungal activities against Candida species that occur in the mouth in vitro while another in vitro study in dogs showed that oregano oil exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activity against drug-resistant ear infections. The herb also has been studied in inhibiting skin inflammation and relieving upper respiratory infection symptoms such as a sore throat. See for yourself by trying a few of the home uses below from Dr. Shokoohinia and Narges Kiyani, Pharm.D., an assistant research scientist at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Prepare this oil to soothe achy joints or muscles or as a base for other remedies (like the teas and massage oil below). Add 2 Tbsp dried oregano or 4 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves to 1 ½ cups olive or almond oil. Make sure the oregano is submerged, and let the mixture soak 10 to 15 min. Transfer to the top of a double boiler and let simmer 2 hr. at a gentle boil; stir and check the water level occasionally. Cool slightly, then strain into a lidded glass jar. Massage about 1Tbsp oil onto painful joints as needed. Will last about 2 months. Note: This oil can be used externally or internally, but do not substitute oregano essential oil, which is much stronger and not safe to ingest.
Ease menstrual pain, bloating, or GI discomfort with this pain- and anxiety-relieving beverage. Boil 2 cups water, then add 2 tsp dried chamomile flower buds and let steep 20 min. Strain, then add 1 to 2 drops oregano oil (recipe above) and 1 tsp honey. Optional: Add a curl of orange peel for flavor. Drink up to 3 times a day.
Use this decoction (a concentrated herbal preparation) to calm irritated skin. Combine 2 Tbsp dried oregano or 4 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves and 2 ½ cups water. Let boil 10 min., then let sit on low heat 10 min. Strain and add 2 to 3 drops rose essential oil. Saturate a cotton cloth with the tincture and press on an itchy, irritated area for 20 min.; don’t rinse off. Use several times a day as needed. (If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test first to check for an adverse reaction.)
Relieve rosacea or an overheated face with this compress, which contains rosmarinic and caffeic acids for anti-inflammatory effects. Add 2 Tbsp dried oregano to 2 ½ cups boiling water and boil for 5 min. Let cool, then refrigerate for 15 min. Saturate a soft cloth, then pat face for 5 min. (rewetting cloth often), wait 5 min., then wash face. Store leftover in lidded glass jar in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use every day for several weeks. (If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test first to check for an adverse reaction.)
Use this to massage achy muscles or on your chest to relieve upper respiratory congestion. Place in a lidded glass jar and shake together 12 drops oregano oil (recipe above) and 2 Tbsp carrier oil, such as almond, olive, or coconut oil. Massage a small amount into muscle or chest until absorbed. Use 2 to 3 times per day for up to 3 days. (If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test first to check for an adverse reaction.)
Soothe a mild cough or tickle with this tea. Add 2 Tbsp dried or ½ cup fresh oregano and 1 to 2 peeled garlic cloves to 2 cups boiling water. Let the mixture boil for 5 min. and strain. Add 2 tsp honey and a squeeze of lemon, stir and sip slowly, finishing in about 5 min. If your cough is productive, add 2 drops oregano oil (recipe above) to boost the active ingredients.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Prevention.