Oregano, which means the “mountain joy”, is a popular herb that has found its place in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Botanically known as Origanum vulgare, the warm balsamic and aromatic flavored herb is available year round, and is called wild marjoram in parts of Europe, as it is closely associated with the herb ‘sweet marjoram’.
Oregano is the best known source of iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibre. It is rich in anti-oxidants and an effective anti-bacterial.
Although Oregano is mostly considered a culinary herb, it is also being used for its medicinal values since ages. For instance, an oregano tea instantly cures bloating, indigestion, flatulence, bronchial problems, urinary problems, coughs, headaches, swollen glands and menstrual problems. For instance, in Philippines Oregano is widely used for relieving Children’s coughs.
During the past, it was also used to relieve fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice.
Unsweetened oregano tea was also used as mouthwash or a gargle.
The leaves of the plant, can be made into a paste and applied topically for relief from pain associated with itching, swelling, rheumatism, sores and aching muscles.
For tired muscles and joints, a handful of leaves can be put in a coffee filter or cheesecloth or mesh bag and run steam bath water over it. Relaxing in this warm, fragrant water will soothe tired muscles instantly.
The high antioxidant activity of Oregano is due to the presence of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. These characteristics of Oregano make it a useful herb in health and food preservation.
Several studies have shown that Oregano is highly antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Oregano is believed to contain seven compounds that can lower blood pressure too.