Benefits and Uses of Oregano Herb

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Benefits and Uses of Oregano Herb

I love lavender for being so mild, but oregano is the opposite… it’s incredibly powerful and strong! This wonderful herb has many benefits and health-promoting uses around the house.

Oregano: The Delight of the Mountain

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is an aromatic and slightly bitter herb in the mint family. The name is derived from Greek meaning “mountain of joy” or “the delight of the mountain.” It grows naturally in warm, dry climates (it’s native to the Mediterranean) but is cultivated in many places in the world today.

Oregano is a very flavorful herb that is often used in Italian, Greek, and Spanish cooking. It is often used in seasoning blends, including Italian seasoning, and pairs well with meats, tomato dishes, and eggs. I always add it to my homemade soups and stews, especially during illness, as it is said to have antibacterial properties.

But the benefits of oregano leaves go far beyond the kitchen!

Oregano Herb Health Benefits

Oregano has been gaining popularity as a natural remedy, though its use as a health-boosting herb is centuries old. Modern science confirms the reasons for this: it contains high amounts of omega-3s, iron, manganese, vitamin K, and antioxidants.

Oregano essential oil is well known in natural health communities for its antibacterial properties, and it is even being studied by the mainstream medical community for its potential health benefits.

High Level of Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Like the fresh herb, oregano oil has very high amounts of antioxidants that help fight free radicals. These antioxidants include:

  • phenols
  • triterpenes
  • rosmarinic acid
  • ursolic acid
  • oleanolic acid

Because of its antioxidants, oregano oil is protective against damage from some medications, according to a 2015 study.

One 2007 study found that a combination of oregano and thyme essential oils could lower production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Because if this, the essential oil mixture may be helpful in reducing symptoms from inflammatory illnesses like colitis.

Another study published in the journal Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology found that oregano oil could lower the negative effects of induced colitis in rats and opens the door to new ideas about its benefit to the colon and liver.


Oregano has many antimicrobial properties including antibacterial and anti-parasitic.

A recent study from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center stated that new (safe) antimicrobials are needed to prevent and treat infections and that essential oils like oregano essential oil may be the answer.


In an article published on Science Daily, oregano essential oil was found to be effective in killing Staphylococcus bacteria. It was also equally as effective in its germ-killing abilities as common prescription antibiotics.

Helps Fight Parasites

One study published in Phytotherapy Research found that adults suffering from parasites had significant improvements in their digestive symptoms after using oregano oil.

Helps Athletes Foot

Oregano is also antifungal. One study found that of the 11 essential oils tested, oregano was the most powerful against athlete’s foot. Combined with salt and heat, researchers concluded that essential oils (specifically oregano) were a promising treatment.

Boosts the Immune System and Fights Cancer Cells

According to a 2013 study, oregano and other herbs in the Lamiaceae family can help stimulate the immune system. This might explain the traditional use of oregano for treating illness. But oregano is more than an immune stimulator. A study published in Cancer Letters found that a compound in oregano looked promising as a potential cancer cell killer in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancers.

Oregano Oil, Oregano Essential Oil, and Oil of Oregano: What’s the Difference?

This can be a confusing topic! Often when people talk about oregano they use these terms interchangeably. But each one is slightly different. Here’s how:

  • Oregano oil is oil (often olive oil) that is infused with oregano. This oil may be used medicinally but is most often used culinarily.
  • Oregano essential oil (like all essential oils) are distilled from plant matter and are incredibly concentrated.
  • Oil of oregano is a prepared dilution of oregano essential oil. This can be purchased already prepared but you can make your own too.

Essential oils should never be used (especially ingested) undiluted. Whenever ingestion is mentioned, oil of oregano is what you want to use. Topical use of oregano essential oils should also be diluted.

How to Use Oregano

Oregano has many uses around the home:


Dried or Fresh Oregano Uses

  • It can be consumed as an herb in culinary uses, a tincture, tea, or diluted essential oil.
  • Dried oregano, in combination with other dried herbs like basil, rosemary,  and thyme, can create an effective facial steam for loosening congestion and calming coughing.

Oregano Essential Oil Uses

  • The diluted oil can be consumed to speed recovery during illness.
  • Oregano essential oil (diluted in coconut oil) can be used on skin infections to boost healing.
  • It can be mixed into coconut oil as part of an oil pulling routine for healthy gums.
  • Diluted in a carrier oil, oregano essential oil taken internally can help with allergies.
  • Oregano essential oil diluted in olive oil can be rubbed on sore muscles and joints for pain relief.
  • It can be diluted for effective use on athletes foot and fungal infections.
  • Diluted oregano EO can be helpful in ridding the body of ringworm when used topically.
  • It can be effective in removing warts when used diluted on the skin.

Because oregano has such strong antimicrobial properties, it can help with many infections both internal and external.

Where to Buy Oregano

I typically purchase dried oregano in bulk online. My oregano essential oil comes from here.

Another way to get the benefits of oregano is to grow it fresh! All it takes is a small herb garden or window box.

Some growing notes:

  • Oregano likes warm, dry climates, and full sun.
  • Buy from seed or get instant gratification and purchase seedlings.
  • As they grow, pinch off leaves to encourage a bushier plant.

Harvesting oregano is also simple. Harvest the leaves as you need them and dry some for storage.

Is Oregano Safe?

Oregano oil is not generally considered safe during pregnancy, though culinary use of oregano leaf is considered fine.

If you meet any of the following conditions, talk to your doctor before use as oregano may not be safe for you:

  • allergies to plants in the Lamiaceae family
  • bleeding disorders
  • diabetes
  • planning a surgery

Due to its highly potent nature, oregano essential oil should always be diluted for use on the skin or when taking internally. I am not a doctor or medical professional, and you should always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or beginning any health routine.

This article was medically reviewed by Jessica Meyers, MPAP, PA-C, RH(AHG), who specializes in herbal protocols and functional medicine. You can also find Jessica on Instagram. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

What is your favorite use for oregano? As a spice or as a natural remedy? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


131 responses to “Benefits and Uses of Oregano Herb”

  1. Marlene Mohle Avatar
    Marlene Mohle

    I am shopping on line for oil of oregano. Are “oil of oregano” and “oregano oil the same thing?



    1. Swain Avatar

      no, “oregano oil” is extract of oregano in other words, organic… “oil of oregano” is more artificial and stored longer with different chemicals other than the oregano compound itself.

  2. Wendi Avatar

    I’ve had a sore throat for months and I’ve been taking high strength oil of oregano for almost a year now. I put 10 drops into my cacao, banana and porridge in the morning and again in my egg, banana and cacao smoothie later. I take it for candida. It sounds like I shouldn’t have a sore throat.

  3. Mae Avatar

    Do you leave the oregano oil and coconut oil on all night? How do i apply it? Just massage in on the areas? I am trying to treat facial dandruff. Well, prevent it from coming back after i exfoliate all of it off. Because ive just read where coconut oil has antifungal properties and oregano oil can kill yeast and fungi which is what this is. And my skin is too sensitive (because of this issue) for products that has 1000 different chemicals.! Thanks!

  4. Cliona O'Brien Avatar
    Cliona O’Brien

    Hi, Is is ok to use organic essential oregano oil for ingesting? It says not to be ingested. But may I add one drop to a glass of water, mix and drink? Many thanks for all the wonderful information.

  5. melinda Avatar

    I take my oil of oregano with a little bit of V8 juice and chase it with some water. If I have a sensitive stomach that day, I opt for putting it in gelatin capsules

  6. Michelle Avatar

    Wellness Mama — you rock! thank you for all you do and especially, for following your heart. Your blog comes up with many, many questions I have about wellness and caring for my family.

    I’ve enjoyed and learned about oregano essential oil and its uses. Thank you.

    Love, love love and more love — another adoring fan

    Michelle (Granny of 1)

  7. Dorothy Lanasa-Ransom Avatar
    Dorothy Lanasa-Ransom

    Essential oil of oregano is dangerous full strength for an adult. Sometimes you can buy diluted like 25% oregano and 75% olive oil. But for a baby check someone with definite knowledge or try pub med ncib for a scientific answer. I bought this for the first time today and put a drop on my tongue, and thought I was going to die. My lips turned red like a chemical burn. The reaction is very unbearable for an adult. I can see why this is such a good agent against the superbugs. I am going to try the “one drop per tablespoon.” Externally, first I will try, like feet. Be careful with this.

  8. Jacqueline Mabardi Avatar
    Jacqueline Mabardi

    Why isn’t anyone answering about the ratio?????????????? Bit suspicious that those questions are ignored.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      NO reason to be suspicious…. I’m just a busy mom of five who occasionally misses some of the hundreds of comments that come in per day. I answered below, but I dilute at 1 drop per teaspoon typically.

  9. Theresa Avatar

    It is very hot, even if you apply it topically you will feel a hot sensensation! Dilute it with olive oil before applying it and if drinking it drunk it with a big gulp of water. I take a drink with a max of 12 drops but I am used to it so you may wanna start with three drops and work ur way up. It says to take around 3-4 drops up to 3x daily. I hate the taste so I take 12 drops at once and get it over with. I rarely catch the flus and colds now and I even got rid of two very large warts that never came back.

  10. Kalli Avatar

    I purchased oil of oregano, which is already diluted with virgin olive oil. To take internally, how should I prepare it? I was thinking of adding a few drops to water and drinking it… But how many drops?

  11. Kellie Avatar

    Have had huge challenges with congestion, which in turn has caused a cough over a month now & congested?plugged ears for a week ( a first for me), Started taking silver sol & searching online for more natural remedies to help & ran into oil of oregano. I bought this several years ago when I had the flu, got something really potent from Australia, followed the directions, I think I took around a 1/2 tsp and threw up immediately. I would really like to give it a try again but have no idea what brand to get, or if I should get capsules, how much, etc. Saw something on Dr. OZ online, tried to buy that brand but can’t find it.

    I really would love some detailed suggestions on brand, quantity, & frequency from someone who has taken it internally with no vomiting issues please!

    1. tara Avatar

      I bought..wild mediterranean oregano oil…the brand is from a health store near me but ingredient says on bottle oregano leaf oil 40mg and standardized to 70% carvacrol.. i take 4 drops every couple days..and never have threw up. Cured a boil and currently clearling poison oak…thymex supplements was also suggested to me to fight any active infection.. good luck

    2. Leah Avatar

      If you are unsure of the oil why don’t you try teas instead or a tincture? I would recommend trying the oil again obviously. I think Mountain Rose Herbs are the best value for quality in America. I am in the UK but I hear this name a lot on the web and know it is highly recommended and not overpriced.

      If you don’t get on with the oil then please don’t give up on oregano. Try a tea as this is an instant and simple method of ingestion and saves the expense of buying a tincture or the time frame of making one. If the tea doesn’t agree with you then may be you can’t get on with oregano at higher doses? I have never heard of this apart from in the form of allergies but that doesn’t mean it is impossible.

  12. theresa Avatar

    I use it all the time. I take a big drink of water without swallowing and hold it in my mouth, then I add the drops i need to take and then I swallow the water and drink more water. I’ve taken anywheres from three to twelve drops at a time because it says to take 3-4 drops up to three times per day and I hate the taste so i just do it all in one shot. Take it as needed and stop after it has worked. Take it as a prevention when ppl around you are sick or during fly season. I wouldn’t take it more than two weeks for sure. It’s better than antibiotics

  13. Geraldine Avatar

    So I have had this stupid cough for almost 3 weeks now. After the 1st week and sleepless nights (my husband too) i went to the doctor for some “drugs”. I’m usually against it, but I was desperate. I knew about oregano oil but used in the past to help prevent colds. I didn’t have any left and simply forgot about it. A “Z- pack” and an inhaler later…still have this stupid cough (though not as bad as in the beginning). Then I happen to read an article about oregano oil again…so I said thats it Im buying it. I paid an over priced amount for it and done. I took 3 drops under the tongue which I read and heard to do several times. Holy balls it was disgusting! It almost made me gag. That being said, the constant tickle in the back of my throat almost went away instantly.
    So my question is, how do I manage taking it again and again without dying each time?
    I appreciate ANY ideas you may have!!!

    1. Leah Avatar

      You could dilute the drops in water? Holding your nose and swigging something strong and pleasant straight afterwards (whilst still holding your nose) is an effective way to get any disgusting tasting medicine down. By the time you let go you should only be able to taste the last substance with may be a mild aftertaste of the disgusting whatever.

      The problem with antibiotics is that they are absolutely no good at dealing with viral infections which is why you can’t treat a cold with them. Coughs are often viral (although not always). It does sound as if your cough was. Herbs are often antiviral and antibiotic so they really are better than conventional medicine as a first approach. Garlic and oregano are great examples of something with both (and more) properties.

      1. Karl Emmett Falster Avatar
        Karl Emmett Falster

        My wife buys a baggy of empty gel caps at the health food store, they pull apart. I put the top part over the cap of the YL EO “Oregano” and let 3 or 4 drops go into that little part of the capsule. Then put the two parts back together.
        With my meal emaciated in my mouth, before swallowing, I take the capsule and down it goes with food ready to be assimilated. The powerful presence of the undiluted “Oregano” does not burn, does not taste, is assimilated with the digestive process.
        I don’t pre-fill the capsule as the strength of the Oregano will burn/melt the capsule.
        I’m super sensitive to the strength of that EO, so this method works for me. After breakfast, right now, I can feel it working internally on the upper left side of my body and moving up my neck to the left side of my head . . . most interesting.

  14. Phyllis Avatar

    Thanks for another great post wellness momma! And just chime in- it is also helpful and important to take probiotics with oil of oregano consumption. 🙂

  15. paytin Avatar

    I agree – sticking with the Candida Diet is the best way to go. I wish I had that will power all the time! The Candida Diet def works, but i also keep a bottle of Lady Soma Candida Cleanse handy when I cant follow the diet – take a pill in the morning and at night for a couple days – and it will be gone…..get back on the diet when you can – but keep Lady Soma around when you cant

  16. Barbara Anglin Avatar
    Barbara Anglin

    Katie can you explain what you understand to be the diffent uses of oregano leaf EXTRACT and essential oil of oregano? You have said you don’t generally ingest essential oils, what about plant extracts (in alcohol)?
    Thank you!

    1. Jenn Avatar

      I’m confused about using oil vs extract! I have Gaia oregano leaf extract, 333 mg/ml. The recommended dosage on the bottle is 40 drops, 1.33 ml. I’m not sure if I can use this in place of oregano oil, and how the dosage would change. Please advise!

  17. millie taylor Avatar
    millie taylor

    i am suffering at the moment which i think is a pulled muscle. the awful pain starts at the ankle and travels up the leg to my buttox.sometimes it goes to a different part of the leg. what oregano should i buy to relieve the awful pain , cannot put my foot to the floor without pain,. thank you millie traylor

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