Oregano, Oreganum vulgare, is a herb that comes from the Mediterranean part of the world. Oregano is used extensively in Italian cooking. It is also used for medicinal purposes and it has been used for thousands of years. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes both peppermint and catnip. The ancient Greeks thought it was given to them by Aphrodite and the name of the herb comes from the Greek words “oros” meaning mountain and “ganos” meaning joy.
Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic. The oil is particularly good for its antiseptic. anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Some of the things it is used for is respiratory problems, and urinary tract infections. The oil can also be used on the skin though you might want to test an area first. Some folks are allergic to plants in the mint family.
Oregano is an anti-inflammatory. It helps to reduce low-grade inflammation which many scientists think is behind chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. One of the constituents it contains is carvacrol which slows down inflammation. Oregano is also high in anti-oxidants that help slow the aging process. Some of the benefits of oregano include urinary tract disorders, digestion issues, menstrual cramps and respiratory problems.
Oregano is famous for its culinary uses. There are recipes all over the internet that use oregano. It is used in Italian and Greek cooking extensively. In America it is known as the pizza spice because it is used so often on pizza. There is some evidence that oregano may be used to lose weight. The thinking is that the carvacrol in oregano reverses the mechanisms that form fat cells.
Oregano oil is available as a liquid and also in capsules. Oregano can also be made into a tea or taken as a herb. I use oregano often and have found it very beneficial. As always when starting a herb be sure to talk it over with your health care provider. Many herbs and medicines do not mix.
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