What are the benefits of Oregano oil? Oregano oil is chock full of chemical constituents proven to have potent anti-microbial, antibacterial, antibiotic, and antifungal properties. It is what we would describe as a “Hot oil,” firing the body up to overpower invading pathogens but also causing heat in the body.
So, it’s excellent for chills and infections, supporting healthy immune function, and sports rubs support excellent circulation. The herb has a tonic effect on the digestive system, and research shows that some of the constituents have antioxidant properties. Emotionally, it is comforting, carrying delicious memories of Spaghetti Bolognese!
The Difference between Oregano Essential Oil and Oregano Oil
Importantly before we go any further, oregano essential oil, or oregano oil, is not the same as Oil of Oregano. Oil of Oregano is a different kind of herbal extract used differently. A readily diluted product, you add four drops to a 200ml glass of water, and it is safe to take internally.
Oregano essential oil, or oregano oil as some aromatherapists call it, is a potent, fierce, concentrated extract. Therefore, it should always be diluted into a carrier oil and used externally. Both extractions, however, are remarkable for supporting the immune and respiratory systems.
This article is about oregano essential oil.
What are the Benefits of Oregano Oil?
Aromatherapists tend to use oregano oil for the following complaints:
- General infections and colds
- Bronchitis and tickly coughs
- Chronic rheumatism
- Muscular pain
- Absence of periods
- Loss of appetite
- Sluggish digestion
Oregano is found native to the Mediterranean. The essential oil has a spicy, almost peppery fragrance with herbal, phenolic undertones. Aromatic and refreshing, it has the kind of penetrating nature that eucalyptus has, which makes it very good for use as a decongestant, for example.
It’s reasonable to say most of the magic of the oil can be attributed to a chemical constituent called carvacrol. However, there are ways to draw out other synergies to increase its effects further.
Let’s look at the chemistry that creates the magic and then at some ways to use it.
A bit of a superstar is old carvacrol.
Some Brazilian researchers did a literature study of the many actions that carvacrol has been proven to have. It should be stressed that only some papers in work published in Current Pharmaceutical Design were trials done on humans. Experiments in Petri dishes (in vitro) and animals (in vivo) were also included. (K Husnu Can Baser, 2008)
The range of carvacrol's possible uses is vast. Its antimicrobial abilities were proven in seven studies; another four assessed its impressive bactericidal prowess. One demonstrated that it has fierce anti-fungal abilities in addition to its antibacterial skills. Three other researchers had considered and been dazzled by its antifungal capabilities. Four studies have investigated and been astonished at how brilliant it is as an anti-inflammatory agent. A further three confirmed its antioxidant skills, and finally, one had shown how clever it was at immune system modulation.
Of course, the plant healers are smiling smugly. There’s nothing here they didn’t know. The results only echo the ways that oregano has always been used. It is exactly what we would expect to see.
However much we nod our heads, whenever one of these experiments is done, it’s always exciting to see them uncover some of the things we didn’t know, or at least perhaps previously couldn’t explain.
Tests suggest that carvacrol may have mutagenic capacities (stops cells from mutating), which may point to potential anti-cancer properties.
General Infections and Colds
Essential oils work by the process of osmosis. They take 20 minutes to absorb through the skin and into the blood system. Once there, the chemical constituents circulate in the body to do their magical things. With the complex chemistry of dozens of components, oregano exerts many different effects on several bodily systems.
One of the things that oregano is most helpful for is supporting the healthy function of the immune system when we feel under the weather. It’s lovely added into a rollerball, to just put onto the inside of your wrist as you go through the day. Also, it’s well documented that the effects of essential oils are cumulative, meaning that the more you apply them, the more potent results they build up.
Other tremendous oils to blend with oregano oil might be copaiba or black pepper.
Both are high in a constituent called beta-caryophyllene, which has a weak binding affinity to the CB2 receptor.
This receptor is part of the Endocannabinoid System. Primarily it comprises two different types of receptors spread through the body. The CB1 receptor involves memory, cognition, mood, hunger, itching, and pain. The CB2 receptor is found in blood and lymphatic tissues. This is the one we are mainly concerned with. It modulates inflammation, immunity, and pain.
The Endocannabinoid system is an endocrine system. It is our PRIMARY endocrine system, and its job is to work as a kind of volume switch for hormonal and neurotransmitter release. So if it malfunctions, many conditions do not have on or off buttons.
For example, immunity is too weak or incredibly severe, causing auto-immune responses. Inflammatory diseases are apparent, and problems in this area can cause hypersensitivity to pain.
Oddly, the best way to interact with the Endocannabinoid system is using plants. So, in particular, the name might be a giveaway - cannabis - and its constituents called cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are hydrophobic, which means they are repelled by water, so they do not pass through distillation and would never be found in essential oils. They are giant molecules and would be too heavy to do so anyway.
It’s beneficial to us as aromatherapists to understand when something like this does cross over into essential oils. Beta-caryophyllene is what is called a cannabimimetic. It is not a cannabinoid, but it does act similarly.
Using oils high in beta-caryophyllene can help support healthy immune function. Beta-caryophyllene levels in any oregano essential oil will vary based on where it grew and what season the plant was harvested. Still, it creates a beautiful synergy with higher levels of black pepper and copaiba essential oils.
Chronic Rheumatism & Muscular Pain
Research also shows that carvacrol seems to be able to modulate nerve impulses. This has wide-ranging implications not only for spasmodic conditions but also for nerve-related problems.
In her book Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook for Aromatic Therapy, Jennifer Peace Rhind speaks of how carvacrol has anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Nociception is pain signaling.
At this point, it may be a good plan to focus on conveying just how hot an oil oregano is. It should be used in very small dilutions to protect the skin. Even the most robust skins may feel a tingle from oregano. So, it is vital for the frail and elderly to use a light hand—no more than a 1% dilution.
(See safety and dilution notes further down)
That said, think of its combined effects—Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-nociceptive (calms pain signaling). In addition, think about its energetic heat, so warm and comforting, on damp and many days.
Bronchitis and Tickly Coughs
As seen in the details about carvacrol, it seems it may help to attenuate nerve impulses. This partly explains why oregano oil has always been a successful solution when herbalists have used it for coughs.
It’s tremendously good for soothing muscle spasms. We recommend pairing it with frankincense, which slows the breath and restores lung tissue elasticity.
Perhaps of most help to people with asthma is carvacrol’s extraordinary ability to cleanse the air. It is an effective airborne antimicrobial and is active against many bacterial and fungal pathogens, including candida species.
Absence of Periods
So, this is one of these moments where I would say it does this, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for this.
Far better would be to use sweet basil, geranium, rose, and ylang ylang, if only because they are gentler in their energetic natures. It would be bad enough to have Sweet Basil shouting at your girlie bits to straighten out, but oregano oil is probably way too harsh. So we’re trying to think of a suitable representation…Boudicca, perhaps, or perhaps Atilla The Hun!
That said, vaginal steaming with the herb rather than the oil could be a good plan.
Simply fill a bowl with boiling water, place some oregano leaves, rest the dish in the toilet bowl and sit on it. Wrap your waist with blankets so the steam can’t get out, and rest there for twenty minutes.
Note: the vagina is a susceptible area, so let the water cool for a moment or two to prevent scalding your lady parts.
Oregano oil has a blood thinning action. Very helpful for anyone who has suffered from any blood clotting. There are external factors to consider here. This affects bleeding of all sorts so that it may loosen menstrual flow. Be prepared to bleed more, perhaps, but not as thickly.
It should not be used if you are on blood thinning medications or naturally have some kind of platelet or clotting disorder. Likewise, avoiding oregano essential oil for 48 hours before the scheduled surgery is suggested.
Loss of Appetite
Spaghetti Bolognese may be the best thing you can give someone who has been convalescing and has lost their appetite. Oregano’s stimulant action gets everything going.
Aromatherapy was originally a branch of the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine talks about how the metabolic fire of Agni fuels the body. Agni fuels digestion, metabolism, and heat in the body, drive, oomph, clarity of thought, and ambition.
Oregano fuels Agni heating all processes in the body, loosening sluggish digestion, clarifying the mind, and increasing appetite.
Valerie Ann Worwood has some interesting observations about oregano oil because it benefits people with hypochondria. We agree with her statement that people with this complaint often benefit significantly from learning aromatherapy. Focusing on the job at hand helps them feel more independent, removes their need to be the center of people’s attention, and helps them feel in more control of their health.
This would be another “main effect “instead of a “side effect” of using oregano oil.
Using Oregano Essential Oil Safely
Oregano essential oil is not suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is simply too powerful an antimicrobial. The last thing we want the body to do is overcome a pathogen that wants to be there. Not worth the risk. Please do not use it.
Its heat would make it a poor choice for anyone with broken or hypersensitive skin; likewise, we would not recommend using it on young children. Indeed, children under two have not yet developed strong enough natural oils on their skin to protect them from such a strong chemical.
Remember, blood thinning. Not suitable for use for anyone with a clotting disorder, which may be on blood thinning medications or has surgery planned in the next two days. It would also be ill-advised for anyone suspecting they have a bleeding peptic ulcer.
Maximum dilution for oregano essential oil, according to Essential Oil Safety for Health Professional by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, is 1.1%
To calculate that, 1% is one drop of oregano essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil. So, it is one drop in a teaspoon and a bit!
Oregano Essential Oil Recipes
Healthy Immune Support Rollerball
Method of Use: Roll onto the insides of the wrist three times a day or as and when required.
Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Do not use it on broken or damaged skin. Not ideal for anyone with a platelets disorder, on blood thinning medications, with a peptic ulcer, or immediately before planned surgery.
What are the benefits of oregano oil? Mostly they are protectorates. Excellent for your diffuser to cleanse the air. Use in massage oils to support the immune system's healthy function, make muscle rubs, and tempt people to want to eat again.