Oil of Oregano
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is an herbaceous plant, native to Greece and other Mediterranean countries. It has been used for its healing properties since ancient times, and is used as a seasoning agent in modern cooking.1
Oil of oregano is the essential oil, which has been extracted from the oregano plant and then mixed with a carrier oil for safe consumption. Due to the high potency of most essential oils, they are not meant to be eaten, or applied directly to the skin. Oil of oregano is considered safe for oral use because of its dilution with an edible carrier oil.
Over the years, oil of oregano has been found to include several beneficial healing properties. Throughout this article, you will learn the difference between oil of oregano, and other types of oregano oil, how oregano oil can be used, whether oil of oregano is safe, and where you can buy oil of oregano.
Difference Between Oil of Oregano, Oregano Oil, and Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is made by extracting the natural oils from the oregano plant through a form of distillation. This provides a very pure and potent extract.
Oregano oil is an edible oil, such as olive or avocado oil. The oil is filled with a dry or fresh oregano herb, and allowed to sit for an extended period until the oil becomes infused with the essence of the oregano.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano is oregano essential oil that has been diluted with flaxseed or olive oil.
Perhaps the greatest difference between oregano oil, oil of oregano, and oregano essential oil is the reason they’re used. While oil of oregano and oregano essential oil are used primarily for health and wellness purposes, oregano oil is used as a cooking and flavoring agent.
Users should note that the phrase ‘oregano oil’ is often used interchangeably with ‘oil of oregano’. Any references to it in the article below are discussing oil of oregano.
Oregano Oil for Colds
Among the various health benefits offered by oil of oregano, one of the most popular is using oregano oil for cold and flu symptoms. The common cold causes symptoms such as sore throat, itchy eyes, headaches, fever, cough, runny nose, and sneezing.2
Using oil of oregano for colds is based on both anecdotal and scientific evidence. In Brazil, the herb has been traditionally used for its purported oregano oil antibiotic effects, particularly for respiratory symptoms such as cough, bronchitis, and sore throats.3
Oregano oil sore throat remedies do have scientific merit, as noted by a 2011 study which focused on the antiviral properties of oregano oil. When tested against human respiratory syncytial virus (the cause of respiratory infections), oregano oil inhibited the virus, making it a possible alternative to over the counter cold medicine.2
Another 2011 study testing the essential oils of five Sicilian plants, found that oregano was successful as an antimicrobial agent, and had broad antioxidant effects. These results suggest that using oregano oil for colds may be useful as a preventative treatment.4
Other Oregano Oil Benefits
Aside from its use as a cold treatment, there are many benefits of oregano oil. Scientific and anecdotal evidence support the use of oil of oregano for treatment of:
4. Yeast infections
6. Skin Tags
Take a closer look at each of these ailments and how oil of oregano might help, below.
Oil of Oregano Candida
Candida is a yeast-like fungus which is created naturally in the body. When over-produced, it can cause candidiasis, which may lead to thrush in the mouth or yeast infections. Candida symptoms can affect the stomach, mouth, skin, vagina, and urinary tract, and is a common problem for individuals suffering from HIV.6
According to a 2001 study, oregano oil candida treatments have the potential to be successful thanks to the oil’s strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties. The study focused on both in vitro and in vivo effects of oregano oil for candida, finding that at levels of 0.125 mg/ml, oregano oil was able to halt candida growth.5
Oregano Oil for Warts
Warts are caused by viral infections in the top layer of your skin. While there are no scientific studies promoting the use of oregano oil warts removal methods there is anecdotal evidence. It’s suggested that applying oil of oregano to the wart six times a day, and covering it with a bandage, the wart will shrink. Due to its antiviral properties, it is quite likely that oil of oregano benefits wart removal.
Oregano Oil Herpes
Another malady benefited by the antiviral properties of oregano oil is the herpes simplex virus. Oregano oil for herpes was researched in the same 2011 study.2
During the study, scientists tested the possibility of an oil of oregano herpes treatment, and found that acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 was inhibited by the oil. These findings suggest that oregano oil cold sore treatments could be a useful alternative to prescription treatments.2
Oregano Oil Yeast Infection
Yeast infections are caused by candidiasis and generate uncomfortable symptoms such as milky discharge, itching, and soreness.6 The candida fighting benefits of oil of oregano are well documented, making oregano oil for yeast infection a possible natural treatment.
In a 2010 in vitro study, the effectiveness of oil of oregano was tested against 16 strains of candida. Oregano was successful in halting various strains, including ones that cause yeast infections.10
Oregano Oil for Acne
One of the most common pathogens that causes acne is Staphylococcus epidermidis. Over the years, this pathogen has become resistant to antibacterial treatments.7
According to a 2007 study, an oil of oregano acne treatment may offer a natural solution for acne sufferers. Oregano oil was able to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis.8 Oregano oil acne treatments may be a natural alternative to harsh chemicals or peels.
Oregano Oil for Skin Tags
Skin tags are generally harmless raised stalks of skin that can appear on the neck, underarms, eyelids, neck, or inner thighs.9 One benefit of oregano oil reported in scientific research is its antioxidant property.4 Antioxidants have been found to play a prominent role in skin health. Anecdotal reports note that applying oregano oil onto a skin tag daily for six weeks may cause the skin tags to shrink and fall off.
Oregano Oil for Toenail Fungus
One of the least known health benefits of oregano oil may be its use as a natural toenail fungus remedy. Antifungal properties of oil of oregano were reported in a 2007 study, which focused on the treatment of the foot fungus, Tinea pedis. Of 11 essential oils in the study, oregano demonstrated the most effective antifungal activity.11
Oregano Oil Uses
Now that you understand what oil of oregano is and some of the health benefits of oregano oil, you may be wondering how to use oil of oregano. While there are a number of uses for oil of oregano, there are two main delivery methods, oral consumption and topical application. Below, you will find a more thorough break down of each of the main uses of oil of oregano.
Ingesting Oregano Oil
Before beginning any oil of oregano treatment, it’s important to know how to take oregano oil safely. Although you can create your own, it’s best to use products which have been premixed due to the potency of oregano essential oil. The most common formats include oregano oil capsules, oil of oregano pills, or liquid oil of oregano. Using oil of oregano capsules has been reported as one of the more convenient methods as the oil of oregano dosage is predetermined and conveniently packaged.
Oral oil of oregano uses include the treatment of cold symptoms, or to treat a yeast infection. For those wondering how to take oil or oregano orally, place 1-2 drops underneath the tongue. Hold for several minutes then wash down with a glass of water.
Oregano Oil on Skin
Thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, there are a number of uses for oregano oil. Although the health benefits or oregano oil may leave users excited to try this product right away, as with oral products, it’s good to know how to use oregano oil topically before applying.
For skin tags and warts, apply a few drops to the end of cotton swab. For foot and nail fungus, add 6-8 drops to a large tray of warm water and soak your affected foot for an hour.
Oil of Oregano Side Effects
So, it’s natural, but is oregano oil safe? There are no scientific documents citing oregano oil side effects when used as instructed. However, those with allergies to oregano, or other herbs such as mint may have an adverse reaction. During topical application, reactions may include redness and itching. Upset stomach and diarrhea have been reported as the most common side effects of oil of oregano when ingested.
Where to Buy Oil of Oregano
There are a variety of locations to buy oil of oregano; Whole Foods, Walmart, and GNC being some of the most popular in store options. Online retailers such as Amazon also offer a wide selection at affordable prices. Before buying, users should check the label to ensure they’re purchasing oil of oregano, not oregano oil or oregano essential oil.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Tibaldi, G., Fontana, E. & Nicola, S. (2011) Growing conditions and postharvest management can affect the essential oil of Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart. Industrial Crops and Products. 34(3), 1516-1522. DOI: 1016/j.indcrop.2011.05.008
- Pilau, M. R., Alves, S. H., Weiblen, R., Arenhart, S., Cueto, A. P. & Lovato, A. T. (2011) Antiviral activity of the Lippia graveolens (Mexican oregano) essential oil and its main compound carvacrol against human and animal viruses. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 42(4). Retrieved on November 22, 2017 from http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1517-83822011000400049&script=sci_arttext
- Furlanetto, P. N. C., Novakowski, G. C. & Correa, E. A. (2012) Folk medicine in mandaguacu municipality, parana state: an ethnobotanical approach. Acta Scientiarum. DOI: 4025/actascibiolsci.v34i4.9306
- Baratta, M. T., Dorman, H. J. D., Deans, S. G., Biondi, D. M. & Roberto, G. (2011) Chemical composition, antimicrobial and antioxidative activity laurel, sage, rosemary, oregano and coriander essential oils. Journal of Essential Oil Research. DOI: 1080/10412905.1998.9700989
- Manohar, V., Ingram, C., Gray, J., Talpur, N. A., Echard, B. W., Bagchi, D. & Preuss, H. G. (2001) Antifungal activities of origanum oil against candida. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 228(1-2), 111-117. Retrieved on November 22, 2017 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1013311632207?LI=true
- Ehrlich, S. (2015) Candidiasis. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved on November 22, 2017 from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/candidiasis
- Orchard, A. & Van Vuuren, S. (2017) Commercial essential oils as potential antimicrobials to treat skin diseases. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. DOI: 1155/2017/4517971
- Nostro, A., Sudano, R. A., Bisignano, G., Marino, A., Cannatelli, M. A., Pizzimenti, F. C., … & Blanco, A. R. (2007) Effects of oregano, carvacrol and thymol on Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. Journal of Medical Microbiology. 56(4), 519-523. DOI: 1099/jmm.0.46804-0
- Ehrlich, S. (2015) Cutaneous skin tag. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved on November 22, 2017 from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/cutaneous-skin-tag
- Cleff, M. B., Meinerz, A. R., Xavier, M., Schuch, L. F., Meireles, M. C. A., Rodriguez, M. R. A. & De Mello, J. R. B. (2010) In vitro activity of origanum vulgare essential oil against candida species. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 41(1), 116-123. DOI: 1590/S1517-838220100001000018
- Inouye, S., Uchida, K., Nishiyama, Y., Hasumi, Y., Yamaguchi, H. & Abe, S. (2007) Combined effect of heat, essential oils and salt on fungicidal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a foot bath. Nihon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi. 48(1), 27-36. Retrieved on November 22, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17287720
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2015, October 7). Lamiaceae. Retrieved April 4, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/plant/Lamiaceae