Although the summer heat has barely faded in most parts of the country (and here, not at all), we know that winter is just around the corner. And so is cold and flu season. It’s not too early to work on strengthening our immune systems for the part of the year when we’re often cooped up indoors, exposed to germs carried by others. Yesterday, I shared with you the benefits of coconut oil in the first post of my ten-part natural immune boosters series. Today, I will discuss natural immune booster number two – oil of oregano.
Before we get started, I need to give this disclaimer: I am NOT a medical practitioner of any kind, and this series of articles on natural immune boosters is not intended to diagnose or attempt to cure any disease. This series is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please see your medical practitioner for professional advice.
Oil of oregano is an essential oil, taken from the leaves and flowers of the wild oregano plant from the Mediterranean area. However, not just any variety of oregano will do. For therapeutic benefits, the oil must be extracted from only two varieties: thymus capitatus (from Spain) or origanum vulgare (common oregano). Oil from origanum vulgare will give the most benefits.
The use of oil of oregano is as old as medicine itself. Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic and as a cure for stomach and respiratory diseases. And that’s just scratching the surface of what modern day scientists have discovered about oil of oregano. Here’s a list of just some of the benefits:
- analgesic (pain relief)
- aids in the formation of new blood vessels
- detoxes and protects the liver
Sounds like amazing stuff, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Hippocrates may not have known why oil of oregano was so beneficial, but modern scientists now do. They have found several key ingredients in it that are responsible for most of those benefits.
- CARVACROL: This is such a powerful antimicrobial, it can be used to preserve food! It’s effective against many bacteria and fungi, including candida, aspergillus mold, staphylococcus, MRSA, e coli, salmonella, giardia, and listeria.
- THYMOL: This is a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties. (This is the main ingredient in thyme, by the way.) Interestingly, thymol is the active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. It is an immune system booster that helps the body heal. It is also helps prevent tissue damage.
- TERPENES: This word is the source of our word for turpentine, and it is what gives pine trees their pine scent. It is a strong antibacterial.
- ROSMARINIC ACID: While this is a primary ingredient of rosemary, it is also found in oil of oregano. This is a stronger antioxidant than Vitamin E. It aids in the prevention of cancer and artherosclerosis. It’s also a great antihistamine and helps reduce fluid and swelling during an allergic asthma attack.
- NARINGIN: This ingredient is what gives grapefruit its bitter flavor. It helps boost the effectiveness of antioxidants in the body, and it inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Many studies have been done on oil of oregano, both in the lab with animals as well as with humans. I’ll mention just two of the studies. (Read about more studies in The Health Benefits of Oil of Oregano, as well as my other source links below.)
In a study on the effects of oil of oregano on candida (yeast infection), lab mice were infected with five times the lethal dose of candida. Eighty percent of the mice that were treated with oil of oregano survived!
In a human clinical trial, the antiparisitic properties of oil of oregano were studied. Subjects suffering from various parasites were treated with oil of oregano for six weeks. At the end of the study, they were free from parasites.
Oil of oregano is very safe to consume, as long as it is not consumed in its pure form. If not in capsule form, the oil must be diluted in water or a carrier oil (such as olive, jojoba, or coconut oil). It also should not be applied directly to the skin unless diluted. If you are allergic to oregano, do not use oil of oregano. If you suffer from a particular ailment, please see your medical practitioner for dosage recommendations.
I’ve taken oil of oregano capsules in the past when I was sick. Capsules are a great way to avoid the bitter taste of the oil. Of course, the actual oil is more versatile and can be used in various ways at various dosages. Please do your own research and, again, consult your medical practitioner for the right dosage for you.
Here’s to better health through the power of oil of oregano!
For further information on oil of oregano, please visit these sites which I read in preparation for this post:
- The Health Benefits of Oil of Oregano (contains lots of information on various research studies)
- Oil of Oregano Benefits: 11 Things to Know about Oregano Oil
- Oil of Oregano: A Powerhouse for the Alternative Medicine Cabinet
- Oil of Oregano Dangers and Benefits
- 10 Uses for Organic Oregano Oil
- Extraordinary Oregano Oil
MORE IN THE NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTER SERIES: