The range of oreganol uses has recently gained notoriety. It seems every day we are becoming a society increasingly aware of the importance of our agricultural roots and are reexamining the role that herbs and essential oils can play in all aspects of our lives. While in the recent past we had turned away from time-tested natural remedies and turned to dependency on the pharmaceutical industry for answers to our health, we now realize that all along Mother Earth knew best and that nature has always had the answers for many questions we have asked from modern science. Essential oils play a very significant role today in alternative medicine, and one of the most versatile essential oils is oreganol, or oil of oregano.
Oreganol is obtained from one of the species of the very well known oregano plant, Origanum vulgare. There are dozens of species of oregano plants. We are all pretty familiar with oregano for cooking, as it is used widely as a spice in many countries, particularly the Mediterranean, Spain, and Latin America. However, oreganol is not derived from the same species as the common oregano spice.
Oreganol is derived instead from wild Mediterranean oregano, which grows best under specific climatic conditions in the mountains of that region. This type of oregano has been established as the most potent kind. The leaves of this oregano plant are crushed so that the oil can be extracted and subsequently distilled.
Oil of Oregano Uses
Uses for oreganol are versatile. It is enlightening to learn that although it was used medicinally since ancient times, we are just now rediscovering this very useful and healing essential oil. The medicinal benefits of oreganol have been researched by many and its efficacy has been amply recognized. Oreganol has been found to be a very powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant and antiviral. It can also kill parasites and suppress their growth.
Oil of oregano has been recognized as a very effective treatment for sinusitis and other respiratory and digestive ailments prevalent in North America which are due to fungus. One of the most prominent figures in this area of oreganol research is Canadian Dr. Cass Ingram, author of a few books on the subject, including Lifesaving Cures, and The Respiratory Solution. Some of the research by him has been performed at renowned institutions such as Cornell University. He has found that oil of oregano is powerful against a wide range of fungal related respiratory and digestive problems including asbestosis, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, asthma, sinusitis, pneumonia and bronchitis, colitis, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastritis, among many others.
Aside from uses to treat respiratory and digestive illnesses, medicinal benefits of oil of oregano are cited frequently to include its roles as a curative agent for infections of the skin and nails, such as eczema, acne and psoriasis, as an oral anti bacterial, natural antihistamine, anti inflammatory, decongestant, and disinfectant. Although traditional western pharmacological based medicine sometimes speaks out and questions the validity of the healing properties of natural remedies, recent studies in the past decade are promising.
Research by Georgetown University Medical Center in 2001 found that oregano oil may protect against drug resistant bacteria seemingly as effective as traditional antibiotics. The scope of this investigative study was the organism Staphylococcus, a cause of many types of infections. With the ever increasing development of antibiotic resistance by pathogens, alternative medicine may provide us natural remedies without harmful side effects or the development of resistance. Other research conducted at the University of Tennessee, concluded that oil of oregano worked best among different plant oils against a few varieties of pathogenic germs, including Staphylococcus, E. coli and Listeria (Journal Food Protection, Volume 64, July 2001). The USDA has found that oregano oil is a more potent antioxidant than many other herbs.
As natural remedies gain popularity, more research will be conducted to examine claims made by natural healing proponents, to include all of the significant oreganol uses. However, there is no surprise in finding that what nature has provided us with over thousands of years has beneficial properties. Science needs to work hand in hand with nature to discover all there is to find out about natural healing. In the meantime, it is up to us to give nature a chance to heal us by incorporating more essential oils into our health regimen as our ancestors did. Oregano oil, with all its potential medicinal uses, and its wonderful versatility as an essential oil, is a great place to start.