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Oregano as an Herb

Fresh Oregano as an Herb

Origanum vulgare

Other Names: Mountain Mint, Origano, Wild Marjoram, Winter Marjoram, Wintersweet

Oregano is a warm and aromatic yet slightly bitter herb in the mint family. Good quality oregano has a pungency that numbs the tongue. Oregano means "mountain joy" and also goes by the name marjoram (though it is not to be confused with sweet marjoram).

The Greeks and Romans hold oregano as a symbol of joy and happiness. In fact, it was a tradition for Greek and Roman brides and grooms to be crowned with a laurel of oregano.

Oregano is a rich natural source of vitamin K and has amazing bacteria-fighting powers due to the 2 oils it contains: thymol and carvacrol.

Research tells us that "...On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano has demonstrated 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than orange and 4 times more than blueberries."

Oregano as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the oil extracted from the fresh or dried leaves through a process of steam distillation, the herb picked during the flowering season and freed from the thicker stems and dried, as well as the fresh flowering herb. The plant has an aromatic scent, similar to sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana).

Oregano is taken by mouth as a treatment for colds, flu, mild fevers indigestion and stomach upsets.

A tea of oregano is often used to either bring on menses or to relieve menstrual discomfort. It is also used in baths and inhalations, as well drinking the infusion, to clear lungs and bronchial passages.

Oregano is a strong sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep.

Used topically, oregano is one of the best herbal antiseptics because of its high thymol content.

Internally and externally, oregano it can help alleviate dry itching skin. There is also an oregano essential oil used in aromatherapy for the same conditions listed above.

Chinese medicine: In China, Oregano is used for colds, fever, vomiting, dysentery, jaundice and malnutrition for children.

Homeopathy Uses: Oregano is used to increase sexual arousal.

Oregano infusions and powders are used as teas, gargles and bath additives.

Preparations: For internal use, pour 250 ml boiling water over 1 heaped teaspoonful and strain after 10 minutes; the tea can be sweetened with honey. The unsweetened infusion is used as gargle and mouthwash. To use as a bath additive, pour 1 liter of water over 100 g drug, strain after 10 minutes and add to a full bath.

Oregano Tea: Steep 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 3 tablespoons fresh crushed oregano in 8 ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Oregano oil is a "hot oil", and almost always needs to be diluted.

Culinary Uses of Oregano

Oregano is used extensively in Greek and Italian cooking. It is usually used dried rather than fresh. Leaves and flowering tops are used for tea.

Oregano pairs well with tomatoes, eggplant, and any meat. Sprinkle some in your scrambled eggs or salad dressings, too.

Suggestion: Sprinkle some chopped oregano onto homemade garlic bread.

Italian Oregano: Infuse as an aromatic tea. Chop finely for salads and butter sauces for fish. Add to meat dishes. Add to pizza, tomato, egg and cheese dishes.

Folklore

Place oregano plants around your house to protect it. Use it in love spells, and mix with violets to ward off colds.

Cautions

No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.

Pregnant women should not ingest large amounts of oregano as it can stimulate the uterus.

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