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Oregano - More than Just a Spice
Known by many names, wild oregano, European oregano, mountain mint, pizza herb, and wintersweet, oregano is a common culinary spice found in many kitchens around the world. It is not one or two well-defined species, but rather any one of more than two dozen that yield leaves or flowering tops and have the flavour recognized as oregano. One of the most commonly used plants, Origanum vulgare is a hardy perennial herb with erect, hairy, branching stems and hairy leaves, that usually produces purple, but sometimes pink or white flowers.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is extensively used as a major pizza flavouring ingredient, and for other foods including alcoholic beverages, baked goods, milk products, meat and meat products, condiments and relishes, processed vegetables, and snack foods. Before the introduction of hops, oregano was used as a flavor when brewing beer. Commonly used dried, the herb and leaves have approximately 0.1% essential oil, containing the phenols carvacrol and thymol. These phenols have strong antibacterial, fungicidal, and anthelmintic properties. This oil has been found to completely inhibit the growth of food-borne fungi and bacteria, indicating it as a possible alternative to artificial food preservatives.

Most cultures have long used oregano as a medicinal plant. Aristotle wrote of oregano’s use as an antidote to poisoning. The ancient Greeks used it both externally and internally as a remedy for many conditions including dropsy, poisoning, convulsions, sores, and aching muscles.

North American traditional usage suggests oregano as a stimulant, carminative, nerve tonic, diaphoretic, and as a cure for indigestion, asthma, coughs, colic, nervousness, spider bites, rheumatism, toothaches, headaches, coronary conditions, and irregular menstruation. The oil is also reported to have spasmolytic, expectorant, diuretic, and choleretic properties.

In Europe, oregano has been utilized for the treatment of respiratory ailments, coughing, bronchitis, and as a mild sedative, expectorant, antispasmodic, diuretic, and appetite stimulant. In Chinese medicine it is used to treat vomiting, fevers, diarrhea, itchy skin conditions, and jaundice.

Research has confirmed oregano’s traditional use as well as offering explanations to its effectiveness. The majority of oregano’s health benefits can be traced to its volatile oil. This complex oil contains over 130 medicinally and nutritionally active compounds. Chief among these compounds are the phenols carvacrol and thymol. These antioxidant compounds act as exceptionally strong healing and health promoting agents.

Internally, these two phenols effectively support the body’s respiratory, immune and digestive systems. This action enables oregano to act as a healer and preventative for a multitude of conditions affecting these vital body systems.

Externally, these compounds work as exceedingly powerful pain relieving, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic agents.

Multiple trials have demonstrated the ability of Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) to kill numerous harmful organisms including Candida, E. Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Influenza and some Pneumonia causing bacteria. Its modern treatment uses include:
  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Bloating
  • Bronchitis
  • Candidiasis
  • Cankers
  • Colds
  • Cold sores
  • Colitis
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Croup
  • Dandruff
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • E. Coli (Escherichia coli)
  • Earache
  • Eczema
  • Glands (swollen)
  • Gum disease
  • Headaches
  • Hiccups
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Insect bites
  • Lice
  • Muscle pain
  • Neuritis
  • Parasites
  • Pneumonia
  • Psoriasis
  • Respiration
  • Rheumatism
  • Ringworm
  • Rosaceae
  • Salmonella
  • Seborrhea
  • Sinusitis
  • Spider bites
  • Vaginitis
  • Viral infections
  • Yeast infections
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