Oregano oil is an essential oil obtained from the oregano plant. The scientific name of this plant is Oregano Vulgare. Basically, it is a woody shrub that belongs to the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region. The oil is extracted from fresh or dried leaves of this plant with the help of steam distillation.
The oil thus obtained has excellent medicinal values. Its health benefits are mainly owing to the presence of two phenolic compounds: Carvacrol and Thymol. It is a good source of vitamins A, vitamin C, and niacin. It also contains important minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
This oil is well known for its natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. In other words, it can destroy both bacteria, as well as virus. When this oil is taken internally, it undergoes a reaction with water, thereby releasing a large amount of heat.
This heat dehydrates all kinds of harmful microorganisms in the body. Thus, it helps to fight off diseases. Some of the key medicinal uses are as follows:
Treating a common cold is a major problem. This is because it is caused by virus, and antibiotics that can destroy the bacteria really well, are ineffective on viruses. An excellent way to get rid of annoying symptoms of common cold is with the help of oregano oil as it is equally effective on both virus as well as bacteria.
It can be used as a nasal decongestant where one just has to put one or two drops of the oil on a handkerchief and inhale the vapor. One can also add 2 - 3 drops of the oil in orange juice and drink it to get relief from sore throat. Those who are bothered by acute sinus infection can add a few drops of oil into a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil bring down the inflammation of the sinus cavities and facilitate easier sinus drainage. This brings relief from cough too.
For Digestive Health
The oil has an amazing effect on the overall digestive health. If it is taken after meals, it helps in the release of various digestive juices, which ensure better digestion of food.
One can take it to get relief from an upset stomach. The phenol compound helps to calm down the stomach discomfort and alleviates the symptoms of diarrhea. It also kills the parasites that may trigger an upset stomach.
Anti-inflammatory qualities of the oil can be utilized for relieving joint pain caused by arthritis. Massaging the painful joints with a few drops of the oil diluted with olive oil will decrease the swelling of the joint and muscle pain. This will improve joint mobility and flexibility.
For Skin Problems
There are many skin problems that can be cured with the help of the oil. It can be used on various forms of itchy skin rashes caused by allergies, insect bites, eczema, etc. It can also be used on boils, warts, and bruises that occur on the skin surface quite often.
It is highly effective for the treatment of various types of fungal infections including nail fungus. It is advised to dilute the oil with olive oil before applying it on the irritated skin.
For Acne Control
Acne is a bacterial infection that inflames the skin. One can safely apply the oil directly on the acne lesion to destroy the bacteria and reduce skin inflammation. For applying oregano oil on acne, dip a Q-tip into the oil and then place it on the acne. Use it twice a day: once in the morning and once before going to bed.
To Get Rid of Dandruff
Dandruff and the resulting itchy scalp is quite bothersome for anyone. To obtain relief, mix a few drops of the oil in your regular shampoo and use it to wash your hair. This should be continued for a week for best results. While using the oil in shampoo, care should be taken that it does not enter the eyes as it gives a stinging sensation in the eyes.
For Washing Hands
Most of the contagious disease-causing germs enter the body through your hands. For this reason, it is advised to wash hands several times a day. Prepare a mixture by adding a few drops of oregano oil in liquid hand soap and use it for washing your hands. This will keep your hands free from harmful germs and bacteria.
For Oral Care
The oil is good for destroying the bacteria that grow inside the mouth and can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. One can put a drop of the oil on toothbrush and brush the teeth with it. It will remove plaque and keep your teeth clean.
Alternatively, one can prepare a homemade mouth wash by adding a few drops of oil in a glass of water and use this solution for cleansing the mouth after brushing. To get relief from tooth ache, massaging the gums gently with the oil twice a day will help.
As a Nutritional Supplement
We have already discussed that the oil is an excellent source of a number of essential nutrients. Hence, it can be used as a nutritional supplement to improve the strength of the immune system and enable it to fight off harmful pathogens.
Moreover, its antioxidant properties reduce the damaging effects of free radicals and prevent deterioration of the cells and thus protect us from age-related problems such as degeneration of muscles, nervous system disorder, cancer, etc.
The oil of oregano does not have any major side effects. However, if it is used for a prolonged time, it tends to interfere with the absorption of iron in the body. Therefore, in case of a long-term use of the oil, it should be accompanied by iron supplements. Most importantly, you must consult your doctor before oral consumption of the oil.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.