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14 Amazing Oregano Oil Benefits

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 09/04/2023

Oregano oil has many health benefits, and its potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties have long been used in traditional medicine to fight infections, support healthy lungs, and relieve chronic sinusitis.   


Discover 14 impressive oregano oil benefits and learn how to use oregano extract to support your immune system and combat a wide range of microbial infections.

Bottle of oregano essential oil

Oregano oil benefits


Oregano extract has been used for centuries to treat infections, alleviate muscle pain, and heal skin sores.


Oregano oil contains rosmarinic acid, carvacrol, and thymol, powerful bioactive compounds with profound health benefits. These phytochemicals are responsible for oregano’s distinct flavor and aroma and have potent antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. 


Check out these 14 impressive benefits of oregano oil.


1. Natural antibiotic    

Oregano oil’s potent antimicrobial effects can help fight harmful bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi. 


Both carvacrol and thymol have been found to directly damage the cell membrane of harmful microorganisms, which disrupts their structural integrity and ultimately triggers the death of the invading microbes. 


Research published in Frontiers of Microbiology confirms that oregano oil is effective against several pathogenic microbes and has shown promising results in treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial skin infections.   



2. Antiseptic effects 

Because oregano oil helps eliminate harmful microbes, it also can be used as an antiseptic remedy, which may stop microorganisms from infecting cells and tissues by inhibiting their growth and development. 


Thymol can interfere with the function of microbial enzymes needed for survival and growth. This can stop their lifecycle and potentially prevent infections. 

Oregano leaves

3. Potent antioxidant 

Oregano oil has potent antioxidant properties that protect cells from free radicals—unstable metabolic by-products that can cause cellular damage and inflammation. 


By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants help protect cellular health, which plays a vital role in lowering the risk of inflammatory diseases, metabolic imbalances, and premature aging



4. Helps clear up acne

Applying diluted oregano oil topically has been found to reduce skin inflammation and eliminate harmful microbes, which may help heal acne breakouts.

 


5. May improve allergies

Rosmarinic acid in oregano oil is believed to regulate histamine levels and balance immune responses. 


Histamine is released in response to allergens and triggers symptoms such as sneezing, hives, and itching associated with allergic reactions and seasonal allergies. 



6. Lowers the risk of asthma

Oregano oil has powerful anti-inflammatory effects which reduce the activity of inflammatory compounds such as cyclooxygenase (COX).


Elevated COX levels in lung tissue are linked to asthma severity, and many anti-asthmatic drugs block COX pathways. 


By lowering COX and inhibiting the growth of respiratory pathogens that could exacerbate breathing issues, oregano oil can be an effective natural remedy for asthma and other respiratory tract issues. 



 7. Bad breath remedy  

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is typically a result of oral microbes caused by bacterial overgrowth in gum tissue or upper respiratory tract infections.  


Because of its impressive antimicrobial effects, using oregano oil in a gargle solution can be a highly effective bad breath remedy.



8. May lower cancer risk 

Although more research is needed to establish the role of oregano oil in cancer prevention, there is evidence that oregano extract may possess anti-cancer properties. 


A study published in Foods suggests, “Oregano extract induced oxidative stress and inhibited tumor cell proliferation, triggering programmed cancer cell death through mitochondria and DNA damage.”

Hand stopping virus illustration

9. Strengthens immune defenses

Oregano oil contains the highest concentrations of carvacrol, which has been found to stimulate the production and activity of immune cells, including white blood cells, which play a crucial role in immune defenses.


In addition, oregano oil's antimicrobial properties can help increase gut bacteria diversity, linked to balanced immune responses and a lower risk of developing autoimmune conditions. 



10. Natural sinus infection remedy  

Because of its inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, oregano oil can be an effective natural remedy for chronic sinus congestion


Adding oregano essential oil to a diffuser can help manage swollen and irritated linings of the nasal and sinus cavities. 



11. Helps combat ear infections

Essential oils have long been used as an antimicrobial ear infection remedy in traditional medicine.  


Adding a few drops of diluted oregano oil to the affected ear can help clear up microbial ear infections and provide pain relief related to swimmer’s ear.



12. Supports healthy blood pressure

Several bioactive compounds in oregano oil have vasodilatory effects that help relax and widen blood vessels, which improves blood flow and can help normalize high blood pressure


Maintaining healthy blood pressure is crucial for cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and atherosclerosis.



13. Combats Epstein-Barr virus

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a common virus belonging to the herpes family, and most people become infected with EBV at some point in their lives.


“A large percentage of EBV infections improve without serious consequences,” explains Dr. Berg. “However, in some cases, EBV can lead to long-term health issues including autoimmune conditions and increased cancer risk.”


Carvacrol and thymol have potent antiviral effects and can lower the risk and severity of EBV infections by interfering with viral replication.



14. Promotes intestinal health   

Oregano oil's antimicrobial effects can inhibit the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms in the gut, which promotes a healthier balance of beneficial intestinal microbes.


A diverse gut microbiome is crucial for digestive functions and nutrient absorption and plays a vital role in immunity and metabolic health. 


Research published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine found that essential oils, including oregano oil, can effectively manage small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)


SIBO can cause significant digestive issues, interfere with nutrient absorption, and trigger gastrointestinal inflammation.   


Watch the video below to learn more about the amazing health benefits of oregano oil.


What is oregano oil?


Oregano oil is a concentrated essential oil extracted from the dried leaves of the oregano plant.


Most oregano essential oils are extracted by steam distillation and combined with a natural carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. 


Wild oregano oil extract is significantly more potent than essential oils extracted from cultivated oregano plants due to its higher concentrations of antimicrobial polyphenols.


Oregano essential oil products can vary in potency, and it’s best to opt for oregano oil that contains between 70 and 90 percent of carvacrol. 

Essential oil diffuser

How to use oregano oil


Pure and undiluted oregano oil is highly concentrated and should be used cautiously to avoid side effects. To determine the best way to use oregano oil, it’s important to consider its intended purpose.


Here are four ways you can use oregano oil to promote a healthy body.


Topical application 

Oregano oil products designed for topical applications are typically formulated with skin-friendly oils such as argan or jojoba oil and can be directly applied to the skin. 


Pure oregano oil must be diluted before topical application. Mix three drops of oregano oil with olive oil or coconut oil and use a cotton ball to dab the oil on the affected skin area. 


Oregano oil supplementation 

Oregano oil supplements are available in pill or capsule form and vary in strength and potency. Reading the product labels and carefully following the dosage recommendations is crucial to avoid gastrointestinal issues. 


Aromatherapy  

A few drops of oregano oil can be mixed with water and added to a diffuser. This can be a particularly effective natural remedy for asthma, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory tract infections.


Gargle solution 

Oregano oil can be used to make a gargle solution to manage oral infections and sore throat symptoms.


Add a few drops of oregano oil to warm water and use it as a gargle twice daily until symptoms improve. Don’t swallow the solution, as oregano essential oil can be harsh on the digestive tract. 

Woman reading a product label

How often can you take oregano oil?


Oregano oil is a potent short-term natural remedy that can be used daily for a maximum of two weeks to combat infections or to lower the risk of catching a cold or flu during winter months, air travel, or large gatherings. 


Taking oregano oil for extended periods can cause an imbalance of beneficial gut bacteria, allergic reactions, and skin irritations. 


If symptoms persist despite oregano oil use, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider to evaluate potential underlying causes and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.  

Woman using essential oil

Oregano oil risks, side effects, and interactions


While oregano oil is generally well tolerated, it’s a highly potent remedy that can cause side effects in sensitive individuals and may result in adverse health effects if used in excess or for prolonged periods. 


Using oregano oil as a topical treatment can cause skin irritation, burning, and redness in people with sensitive skin.


Some people are allergic to oregano and can develop hives, rashes, itching, and swelling when using oregano essential oil internally or externally. 


Oregano oil has been found to interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and drugs to manage diabetes and high blood pressure. 


It’s essential to discuss oregano supplements with a healthcare provider if you are taking prescription medications or have a blood thinning disorder or liver problems to avoid adverse health effects.  


Oregano oil isn’t recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and those trying to conceive due to its high potency and potential risk of hormonal imbalances.

Oregano oil and fresh oregano

Key takeaways


There are many potential oregano oil benefits. Its potent antimicrobial properties make oregano oil a powerful remedy against microbial infections, chronic sinusitis, recurring respiratory tract infections, acne, and halitosis. 


However, it’s important to remember that oregano oil isn’t recommended for long-term use and should be taken for a maximum of two weeks to avoid side effects.   



FAQ


1. What are the top oregano oil benefits?

Oregano oil has potent antimicrobial properties, making it an effective natural remedy for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. 


In addition, oregano oil contains antioxidants that protect cells and tissues from free radical damage, lowering the risk of inflammation and various chronic diseases.


2. What happens if you use oregano oil daily?

Using oregano oil daily for short periods can help combat microbial infections and strengthen immune defenses. 


However, oregano oil isn’t recommended for long-term use and shouldn’t be taken for more than two weeks to avoid side effects such as skin irritations, digestive issues, or imbalanced gut bacteria.  


3. How do you use oregano oil to fight an infection?

Diluted oregano oil can be applied topically to manage skin infections and speed up wound healing. It can also be taken as a supplement to fight intestinal infections and added to a diffuser for aromatherapy in cases of upper respiratory tract infections and asthma.


4. Are there any side effects of using oregano oil?

Oregano oil is highly concentrated and can trigger allergic reactions, skin irritation, and digestive issues in sensitive individuals. There’s also evidence that oregano oil can interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinning medications and drugs to manage hypertension and diabetes. 


5. What is the most effective way to take oil of oregano?

The most effective way to use oregano oil depends on its intended use. 


Applying oregano oil topically is best for skin infection, and taking oregano oil supplements can help fight intestinal infections. Using an oregano oil gargle solution can help manage throat and oral infections.


6. Is oregano oil good for gut bacteria?

Oregano oil has potent antimicrobial properties and can help inhibit the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. 


However, taking oregano oil for prolonged periods may also impact the growth and proliferation of beneficial gut bacteria, potentially contributing to an imbalance in the microbiome.  


7. How do you take oregano oil as an antibiotic?

Oregano oil capsules can be taken to fight internal bacterial infections. Because the strength and potency of individual supplements vary, it’s important to read the product labels and follow the instructions to avoid side effects. 


8. How many days can you take oil of oregano?

Oregano essential oil is intended for short-term use and shouldn’t be taken for more than two weeks.  


9. Is oregano oil safe?

Taking oregano oil for short periods is generally considered safe for most people. However, individuals allergic to oregano, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and women trying to conceive should avoid oregano oil. 


Oregano oil also can interact with prescription medications, including blood thinners and antihypertensive drugs, and may cause adverse effects in individuals with liver issues. 

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