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. Karla Avatar

    Great article! I have been using OoO for combating colds, and it is definitely my go to herb!

    Your article mentions using it for athlete’s foot when diluted. What medium would you use for dilution?
    Could you give an idea of ratio? Thank you!

  2. Donna Avatar

    I would like to suggest you try Des Rosiers Essential Oils. I am certain you will love them.
    Purchasing off Amazon can be risky for ya never know for sure if the bottles have been tampered with.?

  3. Michael Avatar

    You didnt tell us how to dilute it for internal use… for some reason i cant find this info anywhere… help plz

  4. Amber Avatar

    What are you thoughts about applying oregano oil topically on the stomach.? Will I still get similar benefits as taking it orally?

  5. Daniela Avatar

    Not all essential oils are made equally. This is so very true when it comes to oregano essential oil. With over 40 species of oregano a poorer quality of oregano can be harvested and used in essential oils. You want to be sure you are getting the best quality oregano oil to ensure optimal health benefits when you use it. Be sure you purchase wild oregano or Origanum Vulgare harvested from the Mediterranean. This is the purest form. Thymus capitatus harvested from Spain is also pure form. Look for a bottle with 80% carvacrol content as this is the main ingredient in oregano. Look for organic products to ensure its purity and reducing the risk of unwanted chemicals. Never use oregano oil without diluting it with a carrier oil and consult a doctor before you use oregano oil. I strongly advise to start using oregano oil with small doses and increase dosage if need be with observations. You can start with a 1 is to 10 ratio.
    You can use oregano for Acne, Eczema, Athlete’s Foot and Fungal Infections, Anti Dandruff, Psoriasis, Sinus infections and colds, Diaper Rash, Oral Health and many other health issues.

  6. Daniela Avatar

    Believe me oregano oil is what I will never lack in my house. We use oregano oil daily. I first used oregano oil a few years after I was diagnosed of Hepatitis C type II in a rare form. This is after I have tried so many type of medical treatments but failed. With the medical treatments the side effects were terrible to bare. I followed the popular Hep C program advertised regularly on TV. There was not a single thing I didn’t do but still nothing seemed to help. A nurse at the hospital referred me to oregano. I decided to buy the Gel capsules and was told to place under the tongue 3 to 4 times daily and I was shocked when it put the Hep C in remission. Multiple tests were conducted and several examinations and there was not a trace of Hep C virus. Since then I have been free and never been diagnosed of Hepatitis of any form. I have introduced oregano to many others and have received calls and endless thank you messages.

  7. Josh Avatar

    I’ve found it very helpful for bronchitis, something I’ve gotten nearly every year since I was 8 years old. The cough for me is debilitating, I couldn’t find a mainstream medicine remedy that would help until I got to the point where I had pneumonia and would get a z-pack prescribed. Now I take oil of oregano gel caplets and the cough is resolved within three days; that never happened for me before.

  8. Laurie Avatar

    I know it might sound like this is getting beaten to death on here, but I am hearing 4 terms throughout these comments. It would be nice to have a definitive definition of each one, and their differences. I think that is what is confusing so many people here. If one is the same as another please state it.

    1. Oregano oil (often in a carrier such as olive oil). I bought mine in the pharmacy section. Take with 4 drops in a glass of water…so already diluted in store or not?
    2. Oil of oregano
    3. Oregano tincture
    4. Oregano extract

  9. Rob Avatar

    I have a question for Katie the wellness mamma.
    Does dried oregano (which you can buy from the store) have the same “medicinal” properties / benefits that oil of oregano has in other words is dried oregano also an antimicrobial or not ( and if not then I have to get oil of oregano )?

  10. Jasmin Avatar

    I have a store bought Oil of Oregano with 80% Carvacrol – so it’s already diluted and it says for adult dosage to take 4 drops daily.
    My questions is: My 3 year old son has had a fever since yesterday and I am wondering if I can give him some of this oil to help him fight his cold out – what do you recommend: orally (1 drop) or use topically instead (feet or chest).

  11. Allan Avatar

    I use this Oils when its a Flu season. It really helps with some viruses, and its great if you have a cough. I just put few drops Oregano Oil with olive oil into the gel caps, and take it. And it helps to fight colds and Flu. Also you can use it in cooking. I highly recommend it! Since the day I read about oregano oil from I always keep a bottle at home. Oregano Oil has become our family doctor.

  12. Terry Avatar

    I have had a throat clearing problem for 2 years. Drives me crazy. Does anyone one have any suggestions.

  13. Jay Avatar

    Hi guys,
    I’m 34 yr old male suffering from fistula in ano. An abscess formed first turned into fistula 4 years ago still suffering from fistula. Is this oil can help healing fistula and infection. Has anybody tried this oil plz leave a reply thousands of patients are looking for a ray of hope with this condition. Doctors can’t cure with surgeries(very low success rate I had 3 times surgery)

    1. Tania Avatar

      I had something similar..I guess.I didn’t get it looked at by Dr. Just noticed a knot or abscess beside butthole..wasn’t sure if hair ingrown or why. I knew it was gonna get bigger or have to be lanced. But I stayed in…few days. Used the oregano with coconut oil..throughout the day for couple days. It went down completely and never returned.

  14. Elizabeth A Avatar
    Elizabeth A

    Can oregano essential oil be used to treat blotting. If yes how

  15. Bonnie Avatar

    I purchased my Oil of Oregano off of Amazon from Zane Hellas for about $20 for a 30ml/1 fl oz bottle.
    When I bought it, I had to wait a few weeks for it to arrive because it came from Greece.
    I know the amount of carvacrol is what determines how strong it’s antiviral capabilities will be and this bottle came from a batch that has over 86%. I believe mine has somewhere between 91.2% or 92.7% carvacrol in it. It came with a piece of paper in it that had specific percentage amounts but I threw that paper away about a month ago so I can’t give a definitive percantage amount. That paper with also tell you how much thymol it has in it, as well. I believe it’s suppose to have a little bit in it but not very much. This batch has less than 2%.
    A word of caution when using this: It is extremely strong in the smell department. When I put the glass dropper in it, some of the oil spilled on the side of the bottle and my kitchen smelled like a Pizzaria for the remainder of the day. Even after turning on the exhaust fan.
    And even diluted (I used one drop) in 8 1/2 ounces of grape juice, the smell of the oil is still there. The taste of the oil is definitely still there and it still burned my lips drinking it.
    I had the misfortune of finding out that if you drink said 8 1/2 oz of grape juice on an empty stomach with said single drop of oil, it will cause a laxative affect.
    Also be prepared to have to wash your hands multiple times after washing your glass because your hands will smell like Oregano for hours, if not longer. So another word of caution when using this: use gloves because otherwise you’re hands will smell like a pizza!

    I also bought some other essential oils from Nature’s Gift.
    I like this website because they tell you where they source their oils from and how the process was done for each of the oils. They give a lot of useful information for the oils and they even let you know if the oils will have contraindications.

  16. Kelly Avatar

    I’m confused about whether oil of oregano is the same as the essential oregano oil. Wellness Mama, you mention the risks of taking essentials, but isn’t that what oil of oregano is? Or is everyone taking the essential oil diluted in olive oil? Is the oil of oregano I should take something that is more of a pre-made tincture? Thanks in advance for anyone with insight. I feel like this question has been implied on this thread already but not clearly answered.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Oregano essential oil is very potent and can be harmful in certain amounts. Oil of oregano can also apply to an oil that is infused with oregano as well as the essential oil.

  17. Swain Avatar

    ummm…. it sounds weird to me when u say… redding the ringworm… isn’t that the opposite of what we want to do

  18. lettice Avatar

    Hi I was wondering if you could explain the difference between oregano oil and oregano tincture, is there a difference in the potency, can they be used for the same problems? I have recurring yeast infections and want to use oregano together with cyprylic acid but can only find the tincture here in Greece.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Oregano essential oils is a really concentrated form of oregano. A tincture is much less concentrated, though they both offer some of the same benefits. It would be tough to mix a medium chain fat like caprylic acid with an alcohol based tincture, but I would think both could be taken at different times.

      1. Mavis Wood Avatar
        Mavis Wood

        Thanks, Wellness Mama. I learned a lot from reading this today. My bottle says: “Pure Oregano” “Origanum vulgare” “100% Pure Essential Oil” The it says “Use: Aromatic or topical. Diffuse aromatically. For topical use, dilute with a carrier oil.” But it doesn’t say anything about what the “carrier” might be, how much to use, and for what to use it. I think there should be a pamphlet or something to go with it to tell us about its properties. It came from the Melaleuca Company.

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