Oregano is a popular Mediterranean and Mexican herb that belongs to the plant family Lamiaceae and is categorized under the botanical name Origanum vulgare. Although it is considered as a perennial plant, in harsher climatic zones like in North America, it grows as annuals. Oregano adds a typical warm, balsamic tinge to dishes and is regarded as important seasoning in many Mediterranean recipes. It is actually a small shrub, with multi-branched stems, covered with small pink or white flowers and oval-green leaves. This aromatic herb was especially popular amongst the ancient Romans and Greeks, who considered it to be a symbol of peace and happiness. So much importance was associated with this herb that it was regarded as a custom for the ancient Greeks and Roman brides and grooms to be crowned by laurels of oregano. The herb is particularly a good source of minerals and vitamins and helps the human body act against a number of diseases and immune related defects. Read on to know more about the health benefits of oregano.
Health Benefits Of Eating Oregano
- Oregano is a very good source of fiber, which binds bile salts and cancer-causing toxins in the colon, leading to their removal from the body. This causes the breakdown of cholesterol in the body, to make more bile salts. Hence, regular intake of the high-fiber oregano is linked with reduced levels of cholesterol and decreased occurrence of colon cancer.
- Certain phytonutrients present in oregano, like thymol and rosmarinic acid, makes it a very powerful antioxidant. It helps in preventing oxygen-based damage to cell structures, throughout the human body.
- Two volatile oils present in oregano (thymol and carvacrol) inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Research has also indicated that consumption of oregano is beneficial against a common bacterial disease, called giardia.
- The anti-parasitic properties of the herb helps in controlling a number of ailments related to the digestive system.
- The oil made from oregano help in treating skin infections, itchy skin and irritated gums, when applied topically.
- Oregano oil is also beneficial in the treatment of sinus or lung congestion. All you have to do is mix 2 to 3 drops of the oil with juice and consume it regularly. Within 3 to 4 days, you will be able to see the improvement.
- Oregano is helpful in maintaining a good respiratory health. It also helps increase the joint and muscle flexibility.
- The herb is considered to be quite useful for general strengthening of the immune system.
- While use the oil of oregano, be careful of side effects like dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue and even burning sensations on the skin. Use of this oil is to be avoided in pregnancy.
- Application of oregano oil, topically, to mucus membranes in higher than 1% concentration can cause certain harmful effects.
- Whether in its fresh form or dried, oregano is normally added towards the end of cooking. This is because heat can cause a loss in its delicate flavor.
- Oregano is a popular seasoning for pizzas and can also be used for a number of other dishes, like sautéed mushrooms and onions. You can also add chopped oregano to home-made garlic bread.