Oregano is an aromatic perennial herb (up to 0.9 m) with hairy, opposite leaves and white or pink flowers congested towards the branch ends. It is very similar to marjoram or sweet marjoram (O. marjorana) and the two species (both popular culinary herbs) are often confused.
Oregano is native to Europe, central Asia and the Mediterranean region. Oregano and to a lesser extent marjoram, are commercially grown as spices. The herb is still a popular medicine in Greece and especially in Crete, where it is said to be endemic.
Features and Benefits (based on home remedies) of Oregano
The dried aboveground parts are largely used for their culinary flavor. The essential oil (oregano oil) is used topically and for aromatherapy. Oregano oil should not be used internally.
Oregano oil contains carvacrol (40-70%), p-cymene, thymol and γ-terpinen. The herb also contains small amounts of the anti-oxidant, rosmarinic acid.
- Dilute extract used as mouth wash
- It is used for flavoring food
- Oregano oil is used to treat insect bites and relieve skin itches
- Digestive aid