Oregano, also called origanum or wild marjoram, is an aromatic perennial herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae) known for its flavourful dried leaves and flowering tops. Oregano is native to the hills of the Mediterranean countries and western areas and has naturalised in parts of Mexico and the United States. The herbs have been essential ingredients of Mediterranean food and are widely used to season many foods.
The Romans and Greeks correlated Oregano with joy and happiness. The name comes from the Greek word “eros,” meaning mountain, and ‘ganos,” meaning fun.
Oregano has Green olive leaves and Purple flowers. It is closely related to other herbs, Including thyme, mint, marjoram, basil; Oregano contains chemicals that help reduce cough. Oregano also might help in digestion and fight against some bacteria and viruses. There are different kinds of Oregano. Oregano Vulgare is the most common type, and It is also known as Spanish thyme and wild marjoram.
Benefits of Oregano
Carvacrol and thymol are the main components of oregano oil. These may have antimicrobial properties.
In a 2019 laboratory study, carvacrol and thymol prevented various Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus) bacteria from developing in meat and dairy products, suggesting that it would help control bacterial growth in foods.
Amid growing concern about diseases becoming resistant to antibiotics, researchers conducted lab tests to investigate the effects of oregano oil on various microbes that do not respond to other drugs. The significant antibacterial activity showed in oil against 11 such microbes. This suggests substances in Oregano could play a role in fighting the disease that no longer responds to antibiotics.
Inflammation is a normal immune response that occurs due to lines and injury. But, chronic inflammation leads to harmful effects on the human body and gives rise to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.
Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which can help neutralise free radicals and reduce inflammation. It also contains compounds like carvacrol, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
According to one literature overview, the oil and constituents of oregano oil, such as thymol and rosmarinic acid, appear to have anti-inflammatory properties.
In animal studies, Oregano extract helps in reducing inflammation that could lead to:-
- Autoimmune arthritis
- Allergic asthma
- Rheumatoid arthritis
It is worth noting that the studies used a concentrated extract of Oregano. This is not similar to humans eating Oregano in their diet.
Protect against Cancer
Some of the ingredients of Oregano have anticancer properties. Scientists have found evidence that may help extract DNA damage to cells due to oxidative stress, radiation, and mitogens, a type of protein that can cause unwanted cell division.
Researchers have also found evidence that carvacrol and thymol prevent melanoma cells from growing and skin cancer from spreading. While waiting for Oregano by itself is unlikely to prevent cancer, a varied, plant-based diet that is rich in antioxidants may help prevent cell changes that can lead to cancer. IN 2013, lab studies suggested that Origanum majorana could help slow the progression of metastatic breast cancer.
Compounds in Oregano may help manage type 2 diabetes. The author of a 2016 rodent study concluded that origanum extract might help:
- Improve insulin resistance.
- Regulate the expression of genes that affect fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Restore damaged liver and kidneys tissues.
The author noted that some people already use oregano leaves and oil to manage high blood sugar levels.
It may help reduce virus Infection
In addition to fighting off bacteria, some test-tube studies found that Oregano and its bacteria may also protect against some viruses. In particular, carvacrol and thymol are two compounds in Oregano associated with antiviral properties. In the test-tube study, carvacrol inactivated norovirus, A viral type infection that causes nausea, diarrhoea and stomach pain, within one hour of treatment.
While these results are assuring, additional research is needed on how Oregano may impact viral infections in humans.
Oregano is power-packed with fibre. Eating it daily may boost our digestive system. We all know that fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system.; it adds bulk to our stills and stimulates peristaltic motion, which moves food through the digestive tract and excretes it efficiently.
According to Dr Ritika Samaddar, A nutritionist,” said fibre is an essential part of our daily diet, and it is necessary to maintain a healthy balanced life. Soluble fibre is known to keep the sugar level under control, while Insoluble fibre helps preserve the smooth functioning of the Gastric system. An average adult should take 15 grams of fibre in a day.
Oregano is high in antioxidants and may help fight off viruses and bacteria; it reduces cancer cells’ growth and helps cure inflammation. Though current research is limited to animal research and test tube, Further research is required to determine its possible effects on humans.
Luckily, Oregano is versatile, easy to add to your diet, and can be incorporated.