A close relative of other aromatic herbs such as spearmint, thyme, rosemary, sage and marjoram, oregano is inseparable from Italian cuisine, as is a lot of other aromatic herbs! Indeed, if you happen to be anywhere around an Italian kitchen, you can literally hog on the deliciously delectable aroma of cooking even before setting your eyes upon the dish itself!
Now, most of you must be knowing that besides having strong flavors and delightful seasoning properties, all aromatic herbs have significant medicinal properties as well. Two of the most common medicinal properties shared by almost all aromatic herbs of the mint family, oregano included, are their soothing and germicidal potential. That is why so many of these herbs are used to make essential oils that are used for a lot of health, wellness and beauty purposes.
As far as oregano is concerned, it is usually used in three forms - as a fresh herb straight out of your herb garden, in a dried or powdered form and in the form of an oil infusion. Since an oil infusion is a more versatile form, in terms of usability, than fresh herbs or dried powder, oregano oil uses include culinary as well as medicinal applications. Come, let's get to know how to make oregano oil at home, in your very own kitchen!
Making Oregano Oil at Home
For making oregano oil, you need fresh sprigs of oregano or oregano leaves and a base oil. Olive oil and grape seed oil are the best options to use as a base for the oregano infusion, although a neutral mineral oil can also be used. However, if you use a mineral oil base then I would suggest that you don't use such an oregano oil infusion for culinary or edible purposes.
Plant-based oils such as grape seed oil and olive oil are more versatile as they can be used for both topical application as well as consumption. If you want, you can include oregano flowers for the fusion as well. Here's how you go about it:-
- Clean and sterilize the jar in which you intend to store the oregano infusion at least for a good 6 - 8 hours before pouring in the oregano oil so that there is no moisture left behind in the jar that may ruin the infusion.
- Take the fresh oregano sprigs, leaves and flowers and crush them lightly with your fingers so that they release more aroma once warm oil is poured over them.
- Put the crushed oregano inside the jar and cover with lid so that the aroma stays locked in.
- Warm a little base oil (grape seed, olive...take your pick!) in the microwave or on the gas burner in a clean, dry pan. Take only as much oil as it fills a little more than ¾th of the jar. Do not boil the oil, warm it just a little above body temperature, say, around 100°F.
- Pour this warm oil over the crushed oregano in the jar.
- Close the lid tightly so that the oregano releases all of its aroma into the oil and the infusion retains as much of the herbal essence as possible.
- Store this jar containing the infusion in a cool, dry and dark place and let it stay that way for about a fortnight.
- After two weeks of storing as instructed above, strain the entire infusion into another clean vessel. Press down the oregano to drain as much infused oil as possible from the herbal mishmash.
- Pour the infusion back into the previous jar and secure the lid tightly.
Your oregano oil is ready for use as a dressing for salads, to season pastas and pizzas as well as for therapeutic applications. Use of oregano oil for herpes blisters, cold sores, nasal congestion, cold, flu, etc. are common home remedies that provide symptomatic relief in viral conditions. Oregano oil capsules are often recommended to people with weak digestive powers and an infirm immune system.
You can apply a few drops directly to dermal sites of bacterial and fungal infections. However, be careful not to bring this infusion in contact with sensitive regions such as eyes, genitals, etc. as the burning sensation can cause a lot of discomfort. Mix a few drops of oregano oil in your bath water and soak yourself in it for sometime for a relaxing, de-stressing experience.
An oregano oil massage is an excellent way to unwind and relax after an eventful and active day. Now that you know how to make oregano oil yourself, there is no limit to the number of benefits you can derive from this herbal infusion. So, go ahead and give in to the wholesome delights of oregano!