Oregano – Uses and Benefits

Oregano

About Oregano:

Oregano is a herb that is included under ‘Spices & Seasonings’ on Dr. Sebi’s nutritional guide or food list.

What is Oregano?: Oregano is a popular herb and spice known for its strong, aromatic flavor. It is used in various cuisines and has medicinal properties. Oregano is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and is known for its intense and slightly bitter taste.

Scientific Name:

  • Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare (common oregano)
  • There are different species and subspecies of oregano, and their scientific names may vary.

Other Names: Oregano is known by various names in different languages and regions. Some common names include:

  • Spanish: Orégano
  • Italian: Origano

Habitat: Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated in various parts of the world. It thrives in well-drained soil and prefers a warm, sunny climate.

Description:

  • Oregano is a small, bushy herb with dark green leaves and clusters of small, pink or purple flowers.
  • The leaves of the oregano plant are the primary part used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
  • It has a strong, aromatic scent and a slightly bitter, pungent flavor.

Status: Oregano is a commonly cultivated herb and is readily available in both fresh and dried forms in most grocery stores and markets.

Species of Oregano:

There are several species and subspecies of oregano, with the most common being Origanum vulgare.

Known Species of oregano:

  • Origanum vulgare: This is the most widely recognized species of oregano, often referred to as “common oregano.”

Wild Species of Oregano:

Wild oregano species are found in various parts of the world. Here are some wild oregano species and their respective regions:

  1. Origanum vulgare subsp. vulgare (Wild Marjoram):
    • Distribution: Wild marjoram, a subspecies of Oregano (Origanum vulgare), is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It can be found in the Mediterranean region, parts of Asia, and North African countries.
  2. Origanum dictamnus (Dittany of Crete):
    • Distribution: Dittany of Crete, a wild oregano species, is native to the island of Crete in Greece. It grows exclusively in this region.
  3. Origanum heracleoticum (Winter Marjoram or Greek Oregano):
    • Distribution: Winter marjoram, or Greek oregano, is native to the Mediterranean region and can be found in countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
  4. Origanum syriacum (Syrian Oregano or Za’atar):
    • Distribution: Syrian oregano, commonly known as za’atar, is native to the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean region. It is used in various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.
  5. Origanum majorana (Wild Marjoram or Sweet Marjoram):
    • Distribution: Wild marjoram, also known as sweet marjoram, is native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia. It can be found in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
  6. Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum (Italian Oregano):
    • Distribution: Italian oregano, a subspecies of Oregano (Origanum vulgare), is native to the Mediterranean region. It is used in Italian cuisine.
  7. Origanum onites (Pot Marjoram):
    • Distribution: Pot marjoram is native to the Mediterranean region, including countries in Southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
  8. Origanum compactum (Moroccan Oregano):
    • Distribution: Moroccan oregano is native to Morocco and can be found in North African cuisine, particularly Moroccan dishes.

It’s important to note that there are many subspecies and varieties of oregano (Origanum species), and the distribution may vary within each species. Wild oregano species are often adapted to their specific geographic regions and may have unique flavors and characteristics.

Benefits of Oregano:

Benefits of Oregano: Oregano is known for its various benefits, including:

  • Antioxidant Properties: Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from oxidative stress.
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal: Oregano contains compounds like carvacrol and thymol, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Digestive Aid: It can aid in digestion and relieve digestive discomfort.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Oregano may have anti-inflammatory effects.

Mineral Content: Oregano is a good source of various minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Oregano
Oregano

Uses of Oregano:

Medicinal Value:

  • Oregano has been used in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits, including respiratory and digestive support.
  • Oregano oil is sometimes used as a natural remedy for various conditions.

Culinary Uses:

  • Oregano is a versatile herb used in a wide range of dishes, particularly in Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisines.
  • It’s a key ingredient in pizza and pasta sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

Contraindications/Precautions:

  • Oregano is generally safe when used in cooking, but oregano oil in concentrated form should be used with caution and in moderation.
  • Some individuals may be allergic to oregano, and excessive consumption should be avoided.

Research Information:

Numerous studies have explored the medicinal and nutritional properties of oregano, particularly its antioxidant and antibacterial effects. For specific research studies, you may refer to scientific databases and literature. Here are three research references related to oregano:

  1. Title: “Natural diversity in phenolic components and antioxidant properties of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) accessions, grown under the same conditions”
    • Authors: Ghazaleh Jafari Khorsand, et al.
    • Published in: Open access. Published: 06 April 2022.
    • Summary: There was a significant and positive correlation between rosmarinic acid and antioxidant activity.
  2. Title: “Oregano: Overview of the Literature on Health Benefits”
    • Authors: Keith W Singletary, et al.
    • Published in: May 2010 Nutrition Today 45(3):129-138.
    • Summary: Based on the current scientific literature, oregano extracts and individual constituents consistently have demonstrated antimicrobial actions in vitro toward food-borne pathogens, although the capacity to counter human infections is not well studied. Oregano contains several potent antioxidants that may contribute to the findings in preliminary studies that oregano exhibits benefits toward the cardiovascular and nervous systems, relieves symptoms of inflammation, and modulates blood sugar and lipids.
  3. Title: “Use of plant extracts and essential oils in the control of bovine mastitis”
    • Authors: T. Lopes et al.
    • Published in: Research in Veterinary Science.
    • Summary: This review summarizes the current problems encountered in the conventional treatment of mastitis, the possibilities of the use of plant extracts and essential oils as alternative agents for the control of these pathogens and the limitations found in the use of these plant derivatives.
  4. Title: “Evaluation of in vitro antibacterial effect of essential oil and some herbal plant extract used against mastitis pathogens”
    • Authors: Safia Arbab, Hanif Ullah, Iqra Bano, Ka Li, Inam Ul Hassan, Weiwei Wang et al.
    • Published in: Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, Volume 9, Issue 18, 2010.
    • Summary: This study hence indicated that in vitro cultured plantlets of lemon balm and peppermint oil can be used as the alternative method for production of mastitis and cheap source its precursor with antimicrobial activities.

These research papers offer valuable insights into the medicinal, culinary, and therapeutic properties of oregano, showcasing its diverse range of applications in both human health and agriculture. Please note that you can access these papers through academic databases and libraries for more detailed information.

Oregano Spice Recipes:

  1. Classic Tomato Sauce:
    • Ingredients: Tomatoes, onion, oregano, basil, olive oil.
    • Instructions: Sauté onion in olive oil, add tomatoes, oregano, and basil, and simmer to make a flavorful tomato sauce.
  2. Greek Salad:
    • Ingredients: Cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, walnut cheese, olives, oregano, olive oil, key lime juice.
    • Instructions: Toss the ingredients together, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle oregano on top for a refreshing salad.

References:

  • Origanum vulgare – Plants for a Future. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Origanum+vulgare
  • Plant scientists find recipe for anti-cancer compound in herbs https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2021/Q4/plant-scientists-find-recipe-for-anti-cancer-compound-in-herbs.html.
  • Improvement of antioxidant activity of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) with an oral pharmaceutical form. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32563980/
  • Oregano: chemical analysis and evaluation of its antimalarial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities – J Food Sci. 2011 Apr;76(3):C512-8. .

Author: sebifood

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