The oregano is a medicinal plant rich in beneficial properties that reaches its peak splendor towards the end of summer. It’s a wild plant, which many of us know primarily for its aromatic qualities. What’s less known, however, is that this plant can be used in many other ways and has various beneficial functions for our body.
In this article, we will explore these properties, explain the uses of some natural preparations based on oregano, and delve into their benefits. But let’s start by understanding its origins.
Origins of Oregano
The oregano, scientifically known as Origanum Vulgare, is a herbaceous plant from the Lamiaceae family. This family also includes other aromatic herbs such as: mint, rosemary, lemon balm, lavender, sage, and thyme). This medicinal plant is native to the countries of the Mediterranean basin. The name derives from two Greek terms, namely oros (mountain) and gamos (splendor or delight). Its meaning is, therefore: splendor of the mountain. Indeed, it grows wild in hilly and mountainous areas, in the most rugged and rocky spots, breaking the landscape with its beautiful pink flowers.
How to Recognize Oregano
To recognize oregano, one must pay attention to the plant’s characteristics.
- It’s a perennial that can reach up to 70 cm in height.
- It features a long erect stem of reddish color that branches out at the top.
- The leaves have a petiole, are oval-shaped, with a pointed and serrated tip.
- The flowers are tiny, with an intense pink color leaning towards red. They are grouped in clusters located at the tips of the upper branches. They are fully mature by the end of summer.
Properties of Oregano
The properties of oregano are numerous, making it rightfully a genuine medicinal plant. This term, in fact, refers to all those plant species (herbaceous or woody) that were historically used in botanical workshops for their properties in the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, and herbal fields. Naturally, oregano is an aromatic plant. Its use as a spice in cooking is renowned, but it also has medicinal properties and benefits for the body that have been traditionally exploited. These include:
For these purposes, it’s typically used in three forms: essential oil, infusion, and powder. Let’s look at these three different uses.
Oregano Essential Oil
The essential oil of oregano has expectorant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and antifermentative properties. Its use is recommended for infectious syndromes, abdominal pain, bronchitis, and asthma. The recommended dose is 3-5 drops a day dissolved in honey, taken 2-3 times a day. Be cautious with dosages; if taken in excessive amounts, oregano essential oil first has an exciting effect and then a narcotic one. Another use of this essential oil is as a local antiseptic and pain reliever for sudden toothaches. Just moisten a cotton ball with 2 drops of oil and place it directly on the affected area. In cosmetics, oregano essential oil can be used against cellulite imperfections. In this case, it’s applied to the skin as a healing moisturizer. The doses are 10 drops of essential oil mixed with 90 g of sweet almond oil. If you can’t prepare the essential oil at home, you can find it at this link.
The oregano infusion is prepared using 25-30 g of dried leaves and flowers in a liter of boiling water. The infusion time is 15 minutes with the lid closed. Let it cool and then strain thoroughly. Unlike the essential oil, the infusion is an effective natural remedy for asthma, bronchial catarrh, and smoker’s cough. The recommended dose is 4-5 cups a day, taken before or after meals. Pure flowers have greater efficacy but are hard to find in herbal shops. When you buy or grow oregano, dry the flowers when they are mature and store them in a dry place. Use them as needed.
After the essential oil and infusion, let’s now look at another unique use of this plant, namely the oregano powder. The flowers and leaves can be dried and finely powdered. This powder can then be used as a snuffing powder in cases of severe colds. It proves very useful for quickly clearing nasal passages.