Oregano (or Origanum vulgare), like its cousin marjoram, is an herb that is native to the Mediterranean and to the Middle East.
It has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient Greek times, where it was prescribed for gastric disorders, for its capacity to stimulate weak or lazy stomachs and to relieve constipation.
- Gardening: How to grow oregano
Health benefits of oregano
Since it is usually consumed in tiny amounts for seasoning, like most other fine herbs, oregano can’t easily bring about the numerous health benefits that are expected of it. But consuming it regularly and in significant quantities can contribute to adding antioxidants to our diet. Oregano is invigorating, stimulating, purgative and eases digestion. When taken in high doses, it stimulates the heart.
- Oregano is a plant that is often used in herbalism in the form of infusions or essential oils. Such properties as analgesic, anti-infectious, antiseptic and antibacterial properties have been identified for oregano.
- Since oregano is an antioxidant, it can reduce damage caused in the body by free radicals, which are involved in triggering diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and illnesses due to ageing.
- Among the benefits of oregano is the capacity to reduce acute or chronic pulmonary tract inflammation. Drunk in infusions or inhaled, oregano leaves soothe throats and free the pulmonary tract in case of respiratory diseases.
- Oregano treats flatulence and gas, enhances intestinal transit and relieves digestive tract disorders. It also stimulates one’s appetite. It can also sooth painful menstruation.
- Oregano is a cardio tonic stimulant that excites: it is recommended in case of exhaustion or asthenia.
- Poultices prepared from the fresh plant parts crushed and heated in a cloth soothe rheumatism, stiff neck and sore muscles when placed on the painful body part.
Growing oregano to benefit from its medicinal properties
Oregano loves very light soil (one part chalky garden soil, one part river sand), well drained, even limestone, but it absolutely needs full sun.
You may grow oregano in pots, it’s very easy, and harvest will be quite enough if you use pots that are 8 inches (20 cm) deep.
Leaves are collected as needs arise, from May to October. Oregano dries well and its smell keeps for a long time.
One suggestion: bury oregano pots in winter to avoid root freezing that would kill the plant when temperatures drop too much.
- Gardening: How to grow oregano
Use oregano in your cooking to reap its health benefits
This herb symbolizes italian cooking, and oregano can flavor pies and pizzas, barbecues, tomatoes, fish and vegetables both in its dried and fresh forms.
Oregano leaves keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, wrapped in cloth or moist paper. They quickly lose their taste when cooked, so best is to use the raw to season pasta, potatoes and all your vegetables.
Be careful, fresh oregano is much stronger than dried oregano: when cooking, add it at the last moment.
Better than infusions, try preparing “solar tea” from oregano! Fill a glass jar with water and a handful of oregano flowers, and let it macerate in the sun for several hours. It’s delicious ! You can also steep them in hot wine…