In previous articles we have reviewed some of the benefits of oil of oregano, but what about the disadvantages? Are there any significant oil of oregano side effects that we need to be worried about?
While oil of oregano is generally safe to use in moderate doses for otherwise healthy people, there are a few things that certain segments of the population might want to take into consideration before embarking on their oreganol-fueled quest for a healthy body. For people who have existing allergies to plants in the same family as oregano such as marjoram, mint, thyme, basil, and hyssop, there is a chance that oil of oregano could trigger a similar allergic reaction. The most severe side effect in this regard is a reaction known as anaphylaxis, wherein histamine is released from body tissues, leading to generally unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, nasal congestion, heart palpitations, hives, and blue discoloration of the skin. As you might surmise, it is recommended that you seek medical attention upon experiencing severe versions of such symptoms.
Rashes and Irritation
It is possible to experience mild to moderate irritation or rashes after applying oil of oregano products to the skin, especially if the oregano oil being applied is in concentrated or full strength form. To reduce the possibility of irritation, you can dilute it first with other oils such as olive oil before using it either externally or internally. You may also feel a burning sensation if you apply oregano oil to sensitive parts of the body such as the eyes or certain areas on the genitals. Unless there is some particularly overriding reason, it is probably best to just avoid doing this as it is likely not worth the risk of pain or injury.
Nausea and Stomach Discomfort
Another of the possible oil of oregano side effects, particularly when relatively large amounts are taken internally, is nausea or general feelings of queasiness and upset stomach. As with the issue of skin irritation, this effect can be mitigated by diluting the concentrated oreganol with a carrier oil that is relatively neutral and non-toxic. You can also buffer or prevent it by eating a meal beforehand or drinking other fluids such that the oreganol concentration in the stomach will be reduced.
For pregnant women, one of the potentially unfavorable oil of oregano side effects is that it can reduce the absorption of iron, which can be a problem if your iron levels are already low. Most medical references say that using oregano normally in foods and recipes is still safe, but concentrated oregano oils should be used with caution or avoided altogether during pregnancy. This side effect can be mitigated by taking iron supplements at least two hours after using oregano products.
Interactions and Contraindications
Like many substances that are potent enough to have medicinal value, oil of oregano side effects are possible when oreganol is combined with other potent substances that may have similar or directly opposing effects. For example, some medical journals advise caution when taking oregano oil with other known anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as aspirin or alcohol. Another thing that is mentioned is that one should avoid taking oregano oil with lithium, as this can lead to lithium building up in the body to potentially toxic levels. Using oregano derivatives in combination with certain anti-diabetic medications or hormone therapies may also cause undesirable reactions, so you might want to consult with your physician before using oil of oregano treatments if you are already taking any of these kinds of medications on a regular basis.
Overall, most of the problems with oil of oregano side effects occur when excessively large amounts of oregano derivatives are used, or when such products are used in an incorrect or questionable manner. Before beginning treatment it is advisable to check the oil of oregano dosage requirements and recommendations so that you are more likely to avoid the possibility of undesirable side effects.