Much like it sounds, oil of oregano is an essential oil squeezed out of the leaves of oregano, an herb. The oil is used by some people as a home remedy for everything from athlete's foot to the flu. Recently, health researchers have conducted some studies that show this extract to indeed have antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties. More research may prove this simple oil an organic combatant to fight common infections like E. coli and salmonella. Oil of oregano as an essential oil should not be confused with the oregano that is used as a cooking spice.
Since oil of oregano has been heralded as a natural, homeopathic curative, it's usually derived by organic means. The leaves of the herb are gathered from wild oregano, Origanum vulgare. It grows well in Mediterranean climates like Greece, and gets especially potent during the blooming season. Once gathered, the oil is pressed by crushing the leaves, rather than using solvents in the process. Lastly, it is bottled and sold in many health food stores and on the Internet.
Oil of oregano should be diluted before use. Pure oil of oregano is bottled in varying strengths, and is usually blended with another oil, such as olive oil. Depending on the concentration, the recommended dosage is at most a few drops diluted in liquid, such as juice. Correct dosage amounts is usually included with the oil when it is purchased. Diluted oil can also be used as a topical treatment, as it contains many vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin such as magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, potassium, niacin, and beta-carotene; however, some people may be sensitive to it.
Replacement for Antibiotics
The active ingredients of this herbal oil are carvacrol and thymol; some researchers believe that any oil of oregano should have carvacrol as its primary ingredient. Some who study oil of oregano's ability to boost immunity assume that these are the chemicals responsible for the results. Both Georgetown University and the University of Tennessee conducted studies that concluded that the oil is a pharmacologically powerful substance. In some cases it can be as effective as traditional doses of antibiotics, such as penicillin. Doses of the oil may soon be incorporated into treatments for salmonella, staphylococcus, E. coli, and pseudomonas.
It may seem amazing that a treatment made from a common herb would be able to compete with a strong antibiotic like penicillin. This is predominantly due to drug resistance. When microbes are routinely exposed to the same medicines, they begin to evolve in ways that make them more immune to what they consider an enemy. Over time, especially with the abundance of antibiotic prescriptions, the germs can't be wiped out by normal doses. However, they do not develop drug resistance to nondrugs, such as oil of oregano.
As far back as Ancient Greece, people were using the crushed leaves of oregano to keep food from spoiling, ease itchy rashes, treat coughs, and bring down the swelling of a toothache. The Greeks even named the herb "oreganos," meaning it's a delight of the mountains, because it was so tasty and beneficial. The medical community is on its way to validate their unsubstantiated beliefs.