Medicinal Properties of Oil of Oregano


Essential oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare) has been used for many ailments since ancient times. It fights skin infections, digestive problems, yeast, fungal and viral infections, allergies and respiratory problems. It also helps to boost the efficiency of the body's immune system and increases flexibility of joints and muscles. Oil of oregano has been called nature's most versatile essential oil and "nature's purifier." The type of oregano used for this oil grows wild in Greece and around the Mediterranean.


The word "oregano" derives from Greek and means "mountain of joy." Long before the advent of modern medicine, residents of Greece and Rome relied on oil of oregano for many diseases. Hippocrates (460 B.C.-370 B.C.), who is considered the "father of medicine," used it to treat stomach and respiratory ailments. Paracelsus (1493-1541) used it to remedy diarrhea, skin diseases and fungal diseases.

Medical Conditions

Claims have been made that oil of oregano can help to heal many medical conditions. Included in this list are acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, athlete's foot---and that's only the "A's." The most common ailments follow. Skin infections: Applied topically, oil of oregano is used to heal itches and infections of the skin and gums. Digestive problems: The components thymol and carvacrol help digestion and calm upset stomachs. Yeast, fungal and viral infections: Some claim that fungal infections can be knocked out with oregano oil. Allergies and respiratory problems: Oil of oregano has long been used to treat sinus and lung infections. Immune system: The thymol in this oil helps the immune system to ward off diseases. Joints and muscles: Oil of oregano is used to ease arthritis, bruises, injured muscles, sprains, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Makes It Work

The main active ingredient in oil of oregano is carvacrol, which effectively treats candida, E. coli and staphylococcus. In 2001, two studies reported that this oil reduces infection as well as pharmaceutical antibiotics, and stated that it can help people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. It also is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiparasitic.


Be sure to dilute oil of oregano with olive oil or another carrier for external uses. The recommended mixture is one drop of oil to each teaspoon of olive oil. For internal use, capsules are available. Follow label instructions for dosage and frequency. You can also put one drop of oil of oregano under your tongue to give your body its antibiotic effects---repeat three times each day as long as you have symptoms.


When you purchase oil of oregano, look for Origanum vulgare. Other species will not be effective. Keep this product away from children. Conduct a skin test before using it to see if you get an allergic reaction. Keep oil away from your eyes and nose. Do not use oil of oregano if you are pregnant or nursing. If it causes vomiting, a rash or other irritation, stop using it.

Keywords: oregano oil, origanum vulgare, alternative health

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.