15 Oregano Oil Benefits And Uses
We are all aware of how amazing oregano is on pizzas, but did you know it is more than just a delicious addition? Oregano is an herb from the mint family and has been used for medicinal purposes for 1000s of years. This healthful herb contains essential nutrients that our body needs and provides numerous benefits, whether you use it as a herb or in its oil form.
Oregano oil is among the different types of essential oils extracted from the herb using alcohol or carbon dioxide and used as a natural remedy for specific conditions. It is rich in antioxidants, resulting in antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. To give you a better idea, here are 15 benefits and uses of oregano oil.
1. Fight Bacteria
One of the main benefits of using oregano oil is that it helps fight bacteria. Oregano oil is rich in carvacrol, a compound used in folk medicine. This compound stops the growth of harmful bacteria which cause urinary and respiratory tract infections.
Researchers evaluated the antibacterial activity of oregano oil against different types of harmful bacteria. The results showed that the oil inhibited the survival of 11 such harmful bacteria. They opined that oregano oil could be used to treat skin wound infections, promote gastrointestinal health, and prevent food poisoning.
2. Lower Cholesterol
In addition to inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil also help lower cholesterol levels. Our body has good or HDL(high-density lipoprotein ) and bad or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Foods high in cholesterol can increase the levels of bad cholesterol in our body.
Oregano oil lowers bad cholesterol and increases the good ones. Research conducted by the Journal of International Medical Research showed that oregano oil could improve cholesterol levels.
3. Treat Fungal Yeast Infections
Yeast is a type of fungus found in our body, such as our mouth, digestive system and women’s vaginal area. It is harmless, but when there is an overgrowth, it can lead to an infection, and symptoms include rashes, itching, and pain. The infection can happen in our mouth, genitals, blood, and internal organs, and if left untreated, it can enter our bloodstreams and affect our immune system.
Severe yeast infections might require medical attention, but mild ones can be treated at home using oregano oil. The carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil have strong antiseptic properties.
4. Support Gut Health
Our digestive system and gut are responsible for breaking down the food we eat and absorbing nutrients that help carry out bodily functions. When our gut is healthy, it reduces the risk of developing life-threatening conditions like cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Thus, we need to keep our gut healthy by consuming food like oregano oil.
The active compounds in oregano oil help relax the muscles in our stomach, which can reduces risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, and discomfort after eating.
5. Help With Weight Loss
Another benefit of oregano oil is that it aids weight loss. Carvacrol in oregano oil inhibits the formation of fat cells and also stops these cells from being deposited in the tissues of our body. This means that the active compound reduces stubborn fat and prevents negative effects from calorie-laden foods.
Apart from containing carvacrol, oregano oil is rich in flavonoids filled with antioxidants that boost metabolism. Our metabolism gives us energy for work and play. It is also crucial for weight loss because people with high metabolism burn more calories while at rest and at quicker rate.
6. Treat Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the feet. It causes an itchy, stinging, burning rash between your toes, the tops of your feet, and the soles of your feet and your heels. This condition occurs when one wears tight-fitting shoes or via contaminated floors and towels.
There are many antifungal creams for this condition, or one can use essential oils like oregano. Oregano oil, used with heat and salt, inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause the fungal infection. According to a study, oregano oil was the most effective remedy for this infection followed by thyme, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and clove.
7. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is our body’s natural defense mechanism against injury and infection. When harmful and foreign substances enter our body, our immune system detects and removes them, which prevents sickness. However, sometimes, our body continues to fight even when the harmful substances are dead and end up attacking the healthy tissues. This is known as autoimmune disease.
In the long run, an autoimmune disease can lead to heart attack, arrhythmia, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Therefore, we should reduce inflammation in the body by using oregano oil.
8. Rich In Antioxidants
Oregano contains antioxidants like thymol, carvacrol, ocimene, terpinene, limonene, and caryophyllene. These powerful compounds protect our bodies from free radicals. Problems arise when too many free radicals build up in the body. These free radicals attack our cells and can cause chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Antioxidants are found naturally in oregano which help prevent the free radicals, in turn, supporting the proper functioning of the body.
9. Improve Mental Health
Our mental health is affected by two neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine affects our motivation and learning and increases when we are happy. Similarly, serotonin affects our mood, sleep, and many physiological functions.
This is where oregano oil comes in. It contains powerful medicinal compounds that can increase dopamine and serotonin levels and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also helps control cortisol in our body, which affects our stress levels.
10. Repel Insects
The next time you go on an outdoor trip, it might be advisable to pack oregano oil because it is a natural insect repellent. Active compounds like carvacrol and thymol play a role in repelling insects.
Apart from repelling insects, oregano oil is a natural insecticide. Insecticides are chemicals that kill insects. The Journal of the Science of Food and AgriculturaI stated that the compounds in oregano oil inhibited egg laying and larval development of insects, making the oil extract a viable alternative for synthetic insecticides.
11. Improve Respiratory Health
We often use oregano oil in aromatherapy because of its benefits on our respiratory health. Our respiratory system consists of organs and tissues that help us breathe, talk, and smell, remove toxins, regulate body temperature, and protect our airways from harmful substances.
We can prevent these infections by ingesting or smelling oregano oil. Oregano oil improves the efficiency of the respiratory tract by treating nasal congestion. Mucus and buildup loosen thanks to the oil and are dispelled more easily when blowing the nose.
12. Relieve Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a condition that causes swelling and tenderness in our joints. It causes stiffness in the joints and extreme pain and mostly affects the elderly. The pain is usually managed by over-the-counter medicines like NSAIDs or acetaminophen. One can also massage oregano oil in the affected areas.
Oregano oil can be as effective as morphine when used as a painkiller. This is because it can penetrate deep into the skin and reach the synovial fluid in the joints. Besides, you should also consume foods that are rich in calcium to support bone health.
13. Prevent Acne
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when dead skin cells and skin oils clog our pores. Bacteria thrive when there are clogged pores. This inflames our skin, which results in red pus-filled pimples. Thankfully, we can rely on oregano oil to heal our skin.
Oregano oil contains compounds that have antimicrobial properties. It can prevent the growth of and kill off acne-causing bacteria. You can use oregano oil as a spot treatment to clear up pimples and prevent future breakouts.
14. Natural Alternative To Antibiotics
Antibiotics are medications used to fight bacterial infections by killing them and preventing their growth. Unfortunately, the problem with antibiotics is that it kills the good bacteria as well. Additionally, overuse of antibiotics can make it less effective by fostering the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Therefore, some people rely on natural remedies like oregano oil. Oregano oil contains antioxidants that have antibacterial properties. The active compounds help fight pathogens like bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
15. Offers Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world, but unfortunately, there is no cure. Therefore, we must consume food that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Oregano oil is rich in antioxidants that prevent free radical damage like cancer.
There are several animal and test tube studies to back this claim. In other studies, the active compound had anti-tumor effects on human breast cancer cells and reduced the risk of liver cancer.
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