Oregano OilOriganum vulgare
The common food spice oregano grows wild in the mountains of Mediterranean countries. In ancient Greece, oregano or its essential oil was used for the treatment of wounds, snakebites, spider bites, and respiratory problems. Respiratory uses dominated the medicinal history of oregano in medieval Europe, but in the nineteenth century, physicians in the Eclectic School (a medical movement that emphasized herbal treatment) used oregano for promoting menstruation.
What Is Oregano Oil Used for Today?
In the 1990s, the concept of the yeast hypersensitivity syndrome
It is true that oregano oil is toxic to many different types of microorganisms, including fungi and parasites.
However, the same is the case with hundreds of essential oils of herbs, not to mention vinegar, alcohol, and bleach. It is a long way from killing microorganisms in a test tube or on the surface of a block of cheese to medicinal effects in the body. Only
There is a related theory that many people suffer from undiagnosed intestinal parasites; oregano oil is marketed for treatment of this purported problem as well. Oregano oil is also advocated for dozens of other illnesses, ranging from
Websites selling oregano oil additionally point out that it has
A typical dose of oregano oil is 100 mg three times daily of a product standardized to contain 55%–65% of the presumed active ingredient carvacrol.
There are no specific safety risks known to be associated with use of oregano oil products. However, in general, essential oils of herbs can be toxic when taken even in relatively small quantities. Allergic reactions are also possible.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
8. Friedman M, Henika PR, Mandrell RE. Bactericidal activities of plant essential oils and some of their isolated constituents against Campylobacter jejuni , Escherichia coli , Listeria monocytogenes , and Salmonella enterica . J Food Prot. 2002;65:1545-1560.
12. Lambert RJ, Skandamis PN, Coote PJ, Nychas GJ. A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil, thymol and carvacrol. J Appl Microbiol . 2001;91:453-462.
13. Mejlholm O, Dalgaard P. Antimicrobial effect of essential oils on the seafood spoilage micro-organism Photobacterium phosphoreum in liquid media and fish products. Lett Appl Microbiol . 2002;34:27-31.
14. Nielsen PV, Rios R. Inhibition of fungal growth on bread by volatile components from spices and herbs, and the possible application in active packaging, with special emphasis on mustard essential oil. Int J Food Microbiol . 2000;60:219-29.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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