I love, love, love herbs [check out my reel on Instagram to see how to grow your own]. I use fresh herbs in everything from potato salad to baked salmon, to add a punch of flavour and a dose of nutrients. One of my favourite herbs to grow and use is oregano. It’s an incredible culinary herb that’s commonly used in Italian food to add an earthy, fragrant flavour. But did you know the oil that comes from oregano is a super-powered health booster? It’s loaded with antioxidants and powerful plant compounds such as carvacrol and thymol, which have incredible benefits for the body from head-to-toe.
In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about oil of oregano including what it is, 10 amazing health benefits of this potent plant and how to use it to best support your health, naturally.
What is Oil of Oregano?
Before we take a deeper look at the health benefits of oil of oregano, I want to share a little more about this beautiful little plant.
Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, is actually part of the mint family! In fact, many of our most popular and health promoting culinary herbs are part of this family, including basil, thyme, lemon balm, sage, summer savoury, and more.
Oregano is a bushy plant with small leaves and if you’ve grown it in your herb garden, you already know it has a fragrant and distinct scent. That beautiful smell comes from the therapeutic compounds carvacrol and thymol, which give oregano most of its health benefits. They are found in the leaves and stems of the plant and the oil is most beneficial if extracted by cold-pressing the plant because this keeps the phytonutrients intact.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Oil of Oregano
The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers of carvacrol and thymol make oil of oregano a potent addition to your natural medicine cabinet, especially if you’re looking to support your gut health, balance your microbiome, or lower systemic inflammation. I suggest you work with a qualified natural health practitioner when using a powerful supplement such as oil of oregano since you want to make sure you are taking the right dose, at the right time, for the right reason to ensure the best results.
1. Powerful Antibacterial
One of oil of oregano’s most well-known health benefits is its powerful antibacterial properties. Research has found that the compounds within oregano can even help eliminate common infection-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis.
Oil of oregano is a powerful antibacterial thanks to the plant compounds carvacrol and thymol.
2. May Help Balance the Microbiome
If you’ve listened to my podcast or read some of my blog posts, then you’ll know I am obsessed with the microbiome! I truly believe that a balanced, happy microbiome is the foundation of long-lasting, joyous health. Many natural health practitioners will often include oil of oregano in their treatment plans for imbalances in the microbiome such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) because research has shown that it can be an effective remedy when treating this condition. Another win for the power of plants!
3. Could Help Treat Candida Yeast Overgrowth
Candida albicans is a type of yeast that is naturally occurring in our digestive tracts. When properly balanced, it is harmless and works with the other bacteria and yeast in our gut to support digestive health. However, when this yeast is given the opportunity to flourish and multiply, for example after a round or two of antibiotics, it can cause issues throughout the body including inflammation and body aches, brain fog, and more.
Some studies have found that oil of oregano and carvacrol are both effective at killing different strains of Candida yeast, which can make it a great addition to a candida protocol.
4. A Potent Anti-Inflammatory
It’s likely no surprise that systemic inflammation is at the root of many chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles set the stage for inflammation thanks to diets rich in inflammatory seed oils and sugars, reduced movement and exercise, chronic stress, and environmental toxins.
There are many lifestyle switches you can make to lower your inflammation [read more here] and incorporating oil of oregano into your routine is one of them. Studies have shown that in addition to its amazing antimicrobial and antifungal properties, oil of oregano is also a potent anti-inflammatory thanks to those wonderful little compounds, carvacrol and thymol.
5. Helps Manage Cold & Flu Symptoms
No matter how healthy we are, we’ll all catch a cold or flu at some point and my belief is that your health status is actually a reflection of how quickly you bounce back from those illnesses, a sign of resiliency! Research has found that oil of oregano can help treat fevers and respiratory symptoms, both of which are often associated with colds and flus.
Oil of oregano has antiviral properties and can help treat fevers and respiratory symptoms.
They also found that this powerful little plant has antiviral properties. Carvacrol is more effective at treating certain viruses, while oil of oregano as a whole is best at supporting respiratory viruses. That’s one reason this supplement is most often used to help support respiratory health, specifically bronchitis, rhinitis, hay fever, lung disorders, or sinus congestion.
6. Gives an Antioxidant Boost
Oxidative stress and damage within the body has been correlated with the development of diseases ranging from Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s diseases to diabetes. This study has found that oil of oregano, specifically the compounds carvacrol and thymol, may help lower markers of oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals and cleaning up the mess in our cells, so to speak.
7. May Help With Pain Relief
While this benefit has mostly been studied in animals, there is still evidence that oil of oregano can help with pain relief. The study found that the higher the dose, the better the pain relief. There has not been a study in humans to find the exact amount that works for us just yet. With that being said, chronic inflammation is often at the root of those aches and pains we feel in our bodies, so incorporating an anti-inflammatory oil such as oregano could help reduce your pain.
8. May Have Cancer-Fighting Benefits
When it comes to cancer, incorporating cancer-fighting foods and supplements into your routine on a regular basis is a great way to set the stage for lasting health and to stack the deck in your favour. Some preclinical models have found that carvacrol has presented anticancer benefits specifically in breast, liver, and lung carcinomas, specifically by supporting apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Other studies have found carvacrol can inhibit cancer cell growth and cause cancer cell death.
9. Can Help With Blood Sugar Balance
Keeping your blood sugar balanced is another pillar of joyous health since imbalances can impact everything from hormone levels to inflammation and the development of diabetes or other chronic illnesses. There are many simple hacks you can try to balance your blood sugar naturally [learn them here!].
Maintaining balanced blood sugar is a pillar of joyous health!
If you struggle with your glycemic levels despite taking steps to balance your sugars, then oil of oregano could be a helpful tool to add to your routine. Research has found that the active components of thymol and carvacrol both have positive effects on blood sugar balance, possibly by slowing the breakdown of sugars and starches.
10. May Aid in Weight Loss
While the pillar of weight loss and overall joyous health should always be a diet rich in whole foods, daily movement, restorative sleep, and stress management, sometimes we can use a little extra support during our efforts. It should come as no surprise that carvacrol plays a critical role in the possible weight loss benefits of oil of oregano. Researchers have found that this powerful little compound can help disrupt part of the process that creates fat cells in our bodies. If the body is creating fewer fat cells, that can help keep your weight stable.
How To Take Oregano Oil
If you want to start incorporating oil of oregano into your routine, you can take either a liquid oil or a capsule (be aware: the oil is NOT for the faint of heart!). There are often different potencies of oil of oregano. It’s best to speak with a practitioner to help you figure out the potency and dosage that is right for your needs. However, I always take it with a little bit of water to dilute the taste a little as it does burn if you put it directly in your mouth.
Incorporating plant extracts into your routine is a great way to harness the power of nature to help live in harmony with the world and support lasting joyous health!