- What other names is Oregano known by?
- What is Oregano?
- How does Oregano work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Oregano.
Carvacrol, Dostenkraut, European Oregano, Huile d'Origan, Marjolaine Bâtarde, Marjolaine Sauvage, Marjolaine Vivace, Mediterranean Oregano, Mountain Mint, Oil of Oregano, Oregano Oil, Organy, Origan, Origan Européen, Origani Vulgaris Herba, Origano, Origanum, Origanum vulgare, Phytoprogestin, Spanish Thyme, Thé Sauvage, Thym des Bergers, Wild Marjoram, Winter Marjoram, Wintersweet.
Oregano is native to warm western and southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Turkey is one of the largest exporters of oregano. It now grows on most continents and under a variety of conditions. Countries known for producing high-quality oregano essential oils include Greece, Israel, and Turkey.
Outside of the U.S. and Europe, plants referred to as "oregano" may be other species of Origanum, or other members of the Lamiaceae family.
Oregano is taken by mouth respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, allergies, croup, and bronchitis. It is also taken by mouth for stomach disorders such as heartburn, bloating, and parasites. Oregano is also taken by mouth for painful menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, diabetes, bleeding after having a tooth pulled, heart conditions, and high cholesterol.
Oregano oil is applied to the skin for skin conditions including acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, canker sores, warts, wounds, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle and joint pain, and varicose veins. Oregano oil is also applied to the skin as an insect repellent.
In foods and beverages, oregano is used as a culinary spice and a food preservative.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Parasites in the intestines. Some early research shows that taking 200 mg of a specific oregano leaf oil product (ADP, Biotics Research Corporation, Rosenberg, Texas) by mouth three times daily with meals for 6 weeks can kill certain types of parasites; however, these parasites usually do not require medical treatment.
- Wound healing. Early research suggests that applying an oregano extract to the skin twice daily for up to 14 days after a minor skin surgery might reduce the risk of infection and improve scars.
- Athlete's foot.
- Bleeding disorders.
- Heart conditions.
- High cholesterol.
- Indigestion and bloating.
- Muscle and joint pain.
- Painful menstrual periods.
- Urinary tract infections (UTI).
- Varicose veins.
- Other conditions.
Oregano contains chemicals that might help reduce cough and spasms. Oregano also might help digestion by increasing bile flow and fighting against some bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms, and other parasites.
Oregano leaf and oregano oil are LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts commonly found in food. Oregano leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately as medicine. Mild side effects include stomach upset. Oregano might also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to plants in the Lamiaceae family. Oregano oil should not be applied to the skin in concentrations greater than 1% as this might cause irritation.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Oregano is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. There is concern that taking oregano in amounts larger than food amounts might cause miscarriage. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking oregano if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergies: Oregano can cause reactions in people allergic to Lamiaceae family plants, including basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, and sage.
Surgery: Oregano might increase the risk of bleeding. People who use oregano should stop 2 weeks before surgery.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Oregano might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. In theory, taking some medications for diabetes along with oregano might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others..
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Oregano might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking oregano along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
The appropriate dose of oregano depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for oregano (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Baser, K. H. Biological and pharmacological activities of carvacrol and carvacrol bearing essential oils. Curr.Pharm.Des 2008;14(29):3106-3119. View abstract.
Burt, S. A. and Reinders, R. D. Antibacterial activity of selected plant essential oils against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Lett.Appl.Microbiol. 2003;36(3):162-167. View abstract.
De Martino, L., De, Feo, V, Formisano, C., Mignola, E., and Senatore, F. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from three chemotypes of Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart growing wild in Campania (Southern Italy). Molecules. 2009;14(8):2735-2746. View abstract.
Elgayyar, M., Draughon, F. A., Golden, D. A., and Mount, J. R. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms. J Food Prot. 2001;64(7):1019-1024. View abstract.
Friedman, M., Henika, P. R., Levin, C. E., and Mandrell, R. E. Antibacterial activities of plant essential oils and their components against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica in apple juice. J Agric.Food Chem. 9-22-2004;52(19):6042-6048. View abstract.
Futrell, J. M. and Rietschel, R. L. Spice allergy evaluated by results of patch tests. Cutis 1993;52(5):288-290. View abstract.
Goun, E., Cunningham, G., Solodnikov, S., Krasnykch, O., and Miles, H. Antithrombin activity of some constituents from Origanum vulgare. Fitoterapia 2002;73(7-8):692-694. View abstract.
Hawas, U. W., El Desoky, S. K., Kawashty, S. A., and Sharaf, M. Two new flavonoids from Origanum vulgare. Nat.Prod.Res 2008;22(17):1540-1543. View abstract.
Inouye, S., Nishiyama, Y., Uchida, K., Hasumi, Y., Yamaguchi, H., and Abe, S. The vapor activity of oregano, perilla, tea tree, lavender, clove, and geranium oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a closed box. J Infect.Chemother. 2006;12(6):349-354. View abstract.
Irkin, R. and Korukluoglu, M. Growth inhibition of pathogenic bacteria and some yeasts by selected essential oils and survival of L. monocytogenes and C. albicans in apple-carrot juice. Foodborne.Pathog.Dis. 2009;6(3):387-394. View abstract.
Klement, A. A., Fedorova, Z. D., Volkova, S. D., Egorova, L. V., and Shul'kina, N. M. [Use of a herbal infusion of Origanum in hemophilia patients during tooth extraction]. Probl.Gematol.Pereliv.Krovi. 1978;(7):25-28. View abstract.
Koukoulitsa, C., Karioti, A., Bergonzi, M. C., Pescitelli, G., Di Bari, L., and Skaltsa, H. Polar constituents from the aerial parts of Origanum vulgare L. Ssp. hirtum growing wild in Greece. J Agric.Food Chem. 7-26-2006;54(15):5388-5392. View abstract.
Lambert, R. J., Skandamis, P. N., Coote, P. J., and Nychas, G. J. A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil, thymol and carvacrol. J Appl.Microbiol. 2001;91(3):453-462. View abstract.
Lemhadri, A., Zeggwagh, N. A., Maghrani, M., Jouad, H., and Eddouks, M. Anti-hyperglycaemic activity of the aqueous extract of Origanum vulgare growing wild in Tafilalet region. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;92(2-3):251-256. View abstract.
Manohar, V., Ingram, C., Gray, J., Talpur, N. A., Echard, B. W., Bagchi, D., and Preuss, H. G. Antifungal activities of origanum oil against Candida albicans. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2001;228(1-2):111-117. View abstract.
McCue, P., Vattem, D., and Shetty, K. Inhibitory effect of clonal oregano extracts against porcine pancreatic amylase in vitro. Asia Pac.J Clin.Nutr. 2004;13(4):401-408. View abstract.
Nostro, A., Blanco, A. R., Cannatelli, M. A., Enea, V., Flamini, G., Morelli, I., Sudano, Roccaro A., and Alonzo, V. Susceptibility of methicillin-resistant staphylococci to oregano essential oil, carvacrol and thymol. FEMS Microbiol.Lett. 1-30-2004;230(2):191-195. View abstract.
Nurmi, A., Mursu, J., Nurmi, T., Nyyssonen, K., Alfthan, G., Hiltunen, R., Kaikkonen, J., Salonen, J. T., and Voutilainen, S. Consumption of juice fortified with oregano extract markedly increases excretion of phenolic acids but lacks short- and long-term effects on lipid peroxidation in healthy nonsmoking men. J Agric.Food Chem. 8-9-2006;54(16):5790-5796. View abstract.
Ozdemir, B., Ekbul, A., Topal, N. B., Sarandol, E., Sag, S., Baser, K. H., Cordan, J., Gullulu, S., Tuncel, E., Baran, I., and Aydinlar, A. Effects of Origanum onites on endothelial function and serum biochemical markers in hyperlipidaemic patients. J Int Med Res 2008;36(6):1326-1334. View abstract.
Preuss, H. G., Echard, B., Dadgar, A., Talpur, N., Manohar, V., Enig, M., Bagchi, D., and Ingram, C. Effects of Essential Oils and Monolaurin on Staphylococcus aureus: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies. Toxicol.Mech.Methods 2005;15(4):279-285. View abstract.
Ragi, J., Pappert, A., Rao, B., Havkin-Frenkel, D., and Milgraum, S. Oregano extract ointment for wound healing: a randomized, double-blind, petrolatum-controlled study evaluating efficacy. J.Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(10):1168-1172. View abstract.
Rodriguez-Meizoso, I., Marin, F. R., Herrero, M., Senorans, F. J., Reglero, G., Cifuentes, A., and Ibanez, E. Subcritical water extraction of nutraceuticals with antioxidant activity from oregano. Chemical and functional characterization. J Pharm.Biomed.Anal. 8-28-2006;41(5):1560-1565. View abstract.
Shan, B., Cai, Y. Z., Sun, M., and Corke, H. Antioxidant capacity of 26 spice extracts and characterization of their phenolic constituents. J Agric.Food Chem. 10-5-2005;53(20):7749-7759. View abstract.
Tampieri, M. P., Galuppi, R., Macchioni, F., Carelle, M. S., Falcioni, L., Cioni, P. L., and Morelli, I. The inhibition of Candida albicans by selected essential oils and their major components. Mycopathologia 2005;159(3):339-345. View abstract.
Tantaoui-Elaraki, A. and Beraoud, L. Inhibition of growth and aflatoxin production in Aspergillus parasiticus by essential oils of selected plant materials. J Environ.Pathol.Toxicol Oncol. 1994;13(1):67-72. View abstract.
Tognolini, M., Barocelli, E., Ballabeni, V., Bruni, R., Bianchi, A., Chiavarini, M., and Impicciatore, M. Comparative screening of plant essential oils: phenylpropanoid moiety as basic core for antiplatelet activity. Life Sci. 2-23-2006;78(13):1419-1432. View abstract.
Ultee, A., Kets, E. P., Alberda, M., Hoekstra, F. A., and Smid, E. J. Adaptation of the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus to carvacrol. Arch.Microbiol. 2000;174(4):233-238. View abstract.
Akgul A, Kivanc M. Inhibitory effects of selected Turkish spices and oregano components on some foodborne fungi. Int J Food Microbiol 1988;6:263-8. View abstract.
Benito M, Jorro G, Morales C, et al. Labiatae allergy: systemic reactions due to ingestion of oregano and thyme. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1996;76:416-8. View abstract.
Braverman Y, Chizov-Ginzburg A. Repellency of synthetic and plant-derived preparations for Culicoides imicola. Med Vet Entomol 1997;11:355-60. View abstract.
Brune, M., Rossander, L., and Hallberg, L. Iron absorption and phenolic compounds: importance of different phenolic structures. Eur.J Clin Nutr 1989;43(8):547-557. View abstract.
Chevallier A. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: DK Publ, Inc., 2000.
Ciganda C, and Laborde A. Herbal infusions used for induced abortion. J Toxicol.Clin Toxicol. 2003;41:235-239. View abstract.
Daferera DJ, Ziogas BN, Polissiou MG. GC-MS analysis of essential oils from some Greek aromatic plants and their fungitoxicity on Penicillium digitatum. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48:2576-81. View abstract.
Dahiya P, Purkayastha S. Phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of some medicinal plants against multi-drug resistant bacteria from clinical isolates. Indian J Pharm Sci 2012;74(5):443-50. View abstract.
Dorman HJ, Deans SG. Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. J Appl Microbiol 2000;88:308-16. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Force M, Sparks WS, Ronzio RA. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytother Res 2000:14:213-4. View abstract.
Fournomiti M, Kimbaris A, Mantzourani I, et al. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils of cultivated oregano (Origanum vulgare), sage (Salvia officinalis), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) against clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Microb Ecol Health Dis 2015;26:23289. View abstract.
Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts. J Appl Microbiol 1999;86:985-90. View abstract.
Kivanc M, Akgul A, Dogan A. Inhibitory and stimulatory effects of cumin, oregano and their essential oils on growth and acid production of Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Int J Food Microbiol 1991;13:81-5. View abstract.
Lukas B, Schmiderer C, Novak J. Essential oil diversity of European Origanum vulgare L. (Lamiaceae). Phytochemistry 2015;119:32-40. View abstract.
Rodriguez M, Alvarez M, Zayas M. [Microbiological quality of spices consumed in Cuba]. Rev Latinoam Microbiol 1991;33:149-51.
Singletary K. Oregano: overview of the literature on health benefits. Nutrition Today 2010;45(3):129-38.
Teixeira B, Marques A, Ramos C, et al. Chemical composition and bioactivity of different oregano (Origanum vulgare) extracts and essential oil. J Sci Food Agric 2013;93:2707-14. View abstract.
Ultee A, Gorris LG, Smid EJ. Bactericidal activity of carvacrol towards the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus. J Appl Microbiol 1998;85:211-8. View abstract.
Ultee A, Kets EP, Smid EJ. Mechanisms of action of carvacrol on the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus. Appl Environ Microbiol 1999;65:4606-10. View abstract.
Vimalanathan S, Hudson J. Anti-influenza virus activities of commercial oregano oils and their carriers. J App Pharma Sci 2012;2:214.
Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1998;217:369-78. View abstract.