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Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Anthocyanins, betulinic acid, carvacrol, catechin, cyanidin, cymene, Dostenkraut (German), eugenol, flavonoids, gallic acid, Greek oregano, Italian oregano (Origanum x majoricum), kekik (Turkish), Lamiaceae (family), Mediterranean oregano, mountain mint, O. minutiflorum Hausskn., O. vulgare ssp. vulgare, oil of oregano, oregamax, oregano oil, oregano spirits, Oregpig®, Origani vulgaris herba, origano, origanoside, origanum, Origanum acutidens (Hand.-Mazz.) Ietswaart, Origanum compactum, Origanum compactum Benth., Origanum compactum L., Origanum cordifolium (Aucher et Montbret ex Benth.) Vogel, Origanum creticum, Origanum dayi Post, Origanum dubium, Origanum dubium Boiss., Origanum floribundum, Origanum heracleoticum, Origanum heracleoticum L., Origanum libanoticum, Origanum micranthum, Origanum microphyllum, Origanum microphyllum (Bentham) Vogel, Origanum minutiflorum, Origanum minutiflorum O.Schwarz & P.H.Davis, Origanum officinalis, Origanum onites, Origanum onites L., Origanum scabrum, Origanum syriacum, Origanum syriacum L., Origanum syriacum var. bevanii, Origanum tyttanthum, Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum, Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum Ietswaart, Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart, Origanum vulgare ssp. virens, Origanum vulgare L. ssp. vulgare, Origanum x applii, Origanum x intercedens, Origanum x majoricum, P73 oreganol, phenolic glucosides, polyphenols, quercetin, Spanish oregano, Syrian oregano, Syrian oreganum, tannins, thymol, Toka oregano, Turkish oregano, Turkish Origanum acutidens, wild marjoram, wintersweet, zaatar.
  • Note: This monograph does not include marjoram (Origanum majorana). This is discussed in a separate monograph (Marjoram). The main species of interest in this monograph is Origanum vulgare; however, due to the nature of oregano and the use of more than one species in the commercial spice, other species are discussed.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Oregano is a perennial herb that contains phenolic compounds such as carvacrol and thymol. It is commonly used as a culinary spice and preservative agent in foods. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used medicinally and have been traditionally employed to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual irregularities.
  • According to secondary sources, modern herbalists recommend topical or oral application of oregano oil for the treatment of infection. Human research on oregano is limited, and evidence in support of any clinical use of oregano or oregano oil is lacking.
  • Uses with inconclusive laboratory evidence include antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial, and insect-repelling activities. The antibacterial and antioxidant effects of oregano are of particular interest to the food industry, as oregano may hold promise as a natural preservative.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.