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Oregano

From pizza to pilaf, spanakopita to chiles rellenos, oregano is the herb to use!

Traditional in Italian, Greek and Mexican dishes. Robustly flavored with hints of clove and balsam, oregano goes well with tomato dishes, meats, poultry, salad dressings, beans, shellfish and vegetables.

Potted herbs can be placed on a kitchen counter or windowsill and used throughout the season with proper care, great for last minute inspirations that add a special "wow" to any meal.

Fresh cut herbs are great for immediate use and can generally be stored for several days.

More on Oregano

  • 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
    • Expectorant
    • Antibacterial
    • Antifungal
  • Vitamin/Nutritional Content

    The following table shows the nutritional data for the DRIED HERB ONLY.

    Nutrient Unit 1 tsp dried leaves (1.0g) 1 tsp ground dried leaves (1.8g)
    Proximates      
    Water g 0.1 0.18
    Energy kcal 3 5
    Protein g 0.09 0.16
    Total lipid (fat) g 0.04 0.08
    Carbohydrate, by difference g 0.69 1.24
    Fiber, total dietary g 0.4 0.8
    Sugars, total   0.04 0.07
    Minerals mg    
    Calcium, Ca mg 16 29
    Iron, Fe mg 0.37 0.66
    Magnesium, Mg mg 3 5
    Phosphorus, P mg 1 3
    Potassium, K mg 13 23
    Sodium, Na mg 0 0
    Zinc, Zn   0.03 0.05
    Vitamins mg    
    Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 0 0
    Thiamin mg 0.002 0.003
    Riboflavin mg 0.005 0.01
    Niacin mg 0.046 0.084
    Vitamin B-6 µg 0.01 0.019
    Folate, DFE µg 2 4
    Vitamin B-12 µg 0 0
    Vitamin A, RAE IU 1 2
    Vitamin A, IU µg 17 31
    Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) IU 0.18 0.33
    Vitamin D (D2 + D3)   0 0
    Vitamin D g 0 0
    Vitamin K (phylloquinone) g 6.2 11.2
    Lipids g    
    Fatty acids, total saturated mg 0.016 0.028
  • Medicinal/Pharmacological Uses of Oregano (based on Research Papers)

    1. The essential oils of Oregano interfere with biomembranes and are known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, spasmolytic and anti-inflammatory.
    2. Rosmarinic acid is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin E. It prevents free radical damage and is instrumental in preventing atherosclerosis and cancer. Rosmarinic acid has shown to be effective in the treatment of allergic asthma. It reduces fluid buildup and swelling during an allergy attack, and is an effective natural antihistamine.
    3. It is a preservative that can be used to halt the growth of microbes and reduce the risk for food poisoning in meats, eggs, milk and other foods.
    4. A lot has been said about the cold and flu fighting abilities of oregano but there are no scientific studies to substantiate these claims. It has been shown to be an expectorant but beyond that, it is difficult to prove that it prevents flu/colds.
    5. The herb is used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.
    6. The herb is also applied topically to help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and dandruff.
    7. Oregano contains very high concentrations of antioxidants (>75 mmol/100 g). Antioxidants help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals and improve your ability to fight infection.

     

    Aromatherapy

    Adding a couple drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vaporizer and inhaling for a few minutes clears up respiratory and sinus congestions.

  • Current Research

    Research suggests that:

    • Some studies have shown that in lab cultures, oregano oil puts up a strong fight against Candida albicans, the bacteria that causes the fungal infection candida. Other research found it may have a similar effect against the mold fungis Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. However, similar studies haven't yet been done in human subjects.
    • Oregano oil is helpful for skin conditions like cold sores, muscle aches, nail fungus, joint pain, and dandruff.
    • It's a natural insect repellent: Oil of oregano contains many compounds, and one of them is carvacrol — a natural insect repellent. This compound is also found in plants like mint and thyme. Try putting a few drops of oil on outdoor or apply a dilution of it to unbroken skin when heading outdoors.
    • One lab test in 2001 found that oregano oil was effective in killing staphylococcus bacteria, and another published laboratory study out of the UK found that it showed effectiveness against 25 different bacteria.
    • Phytomedicine reports a study to investigate the possible effects of carvacrol obtained from oregano oil on the regenerative feature of the liver following partial hepatectomy in rats. The liver regeneration rate of the animals was calculated measuring the weights of their livers before and after the hepatectomy. The researchers found that the liver regeneration increased significantly in the rats given the oregano oil compared to the control group.
    • The therapeutic use of oregano oil should be avoided in infants and children, and pregnant or nursing women. It also should be avoided by people with high blood pressure or a heart condition. This is because oregano oil is a stimulant.

     

    Why Living Plant is More Useful Than Dried or Fresh Cut Oregano

    • Woody herbs like Oregano dry just fine and there is no loss of essential oils during the drying process.
    • This said oregano is one of the very few herbs whereby the dried herb is more flavorful than the fresh one!
  • Ways to Use Fresh Oregano

    rocket-farms-oregano-meatball-soup
    Fresh Oregano and Meatball Soup
    1. Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano
    2. Lemon-Oregano Lamb Chops
    3. Summer Squash Ribbons with Oregano, Basil, and Lemon
    4. Lemon and Oregano-Rubbed Chicken Paillards. Chicken breasts are pounded thin with a meat mallet or rolling pin to create paillards; the increased surface allows you to use even more of the flavorful rub.
    5. Always excellent with pizza and pasta dishes
    6. Used in pesto dishes
    7. Fresh oregano and meatball soup
    8. Garlicky White bean dip
    9. Greek Chicken Soup with Garbanzos and Oregano