Wild oil of oregano is one of the most potent essential oils on the market. Here are the known beneficial effects and how you can take advantage of them.
1) Antibiotic Properties
Oil of oregano is rich in carvacrol, a natural antibiotic with demonstrated effects against bacteria and inflammation. This chemical is responsible for much of the warm and pleasant aroma of oregano.
The maximum percent of carvacrol in oil of oregano is about 80% – any amount higher than this was probably synthesized in a lab. While carvacrol is safe at this concentration, synthetic versions (which can be as rich as 98%) have been known to cause irritation and other issues. As such, it’s best to stay with the amount found in nature.
Should I Look For Pure Carvacrol?
No. Carvacrol is potent, but it requires other chemicals naturally present in essential oils to reach its full usefulness and potential.
2) Strengthening The Immune System
As a natural result of its antibiotic properties, wild oregano oil can help strengthen the immune system by fighting bacteria and helping the body concentrate its resources. This is particularly helpful at a time when bacteria are becoming more resistant to popular antibiotics.
Unlike their ability to evolve against other antibiotics, bacteria have almost no ability to resist carvacrol. This is because carvacrol directly disrupts the membranes of bacteria and isn’t soluble in water – free-living bacteria would need to create an enzyme that can deactivate carvacrol, but since they almost never encounter significant levels of carvacrol in the wild, defenses against it simply don’t appear.
Health Note: If you want to use wild oil of oregano as an antibiotic, talk to your doctor about the correct dosage. Do not self-medicate against your doctor’s instructions. Oil of oregano side effects are almost nonexistent, but there could be interactions with other medicines your doctor has directed you to take.
3) Insect Repellent
Carvacrol is already valuable for its antibiotic properties – but it’s also a natural insect repellent.
If you’re going hiking, try putting a few drops of oregano oil on your skin. This can help repel any insects that get too close to you.
If you’re staying in one place – say, to eat dinner outside, or because you’ve found a place to camp – try burning a few drops of wild oregano in an oil burner. When done correctly, you should see a significant drop in the number of insects bothering you. Just make sure to take any wind into account – it won’t work if the wind blows the oil away!
4) Nurturing The Digestive System
Oregano is known to stimulate the flow of bile throughout your digestive system. This is a critical part of digesting food because bile helps to get rid of bugs and pathogens. Some people prefer to get this benefit through oregano tea, which allows the oil to be delivered straight to the stomach. One cup of oregano tea per-day is enough for most people.
5) Anti-Venom Properties
Surprisingly, oregano oil is also known to have anti-venom properties. Some poisons from snakes, bees, and spiders can be wholly neutralized – and the anti-inflammation properties of oregano oil help to reduce pain and swelling.
That said, oregano oil should not be used as an anti-venom unless you are directed to do so by an expert. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, contact your local poison control center or call (800) 222-1222. They can tell you if oregano oil is a good choice for your situation.
Oil Of Oregano Side Effects
Wild oil of oregano is mostly safe, but there are a few situations in which side-effects have been known to appear. Here are the things you should know to help avoid potential problems.
The most notable of oregano oil’s side effects is potential intoxication thanks to the presence of thymol. This chemical isn’t prominent in Origanum Vulgare, the strain of oregano used to make most oils. Oils made from other types of oregano may be dangerous if taken in large quantities.
Circulation Of Blood
Proper circulation of blood is usually a good thing, and oregano oil is sometimes used for that exact purpose. However, if taken during pregnancy, the increased blood flow could weaken the amniotic sac. In the worst-case scenario, this can even cause miscarriage. As such, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid using oregano oil.
Similarly, the blood-thinning properties can prevent coagulation (what helps heal wounds), which means you should not take oregano oil for at least two weeks before surgery. If you don’t have a choice, tell your surgeon before you go under, and make sure your family knows to mention it.
Oregano oil is known to lower your level of blood sugar. As with anything that can lower it, however, high doses may cause abnormalities and lead to problems like hypoglycemia. This is especially important for people with diabetes, who need to pay extra attention.
Preventing Side Effects
The primary cause of side effects is taking too much oregano oil. Like most medicinal substances, it’s helpful in moderate amounts but dangerous if you have too much. Keep in mind that many of the oils on the market are extremely pure, concentrated forms. You may need to dilute the oil before use.
If you need a substitute for oregano, try oils from thyme, pepperwort, or wild bergamot. These plants are also rich in carvacrol – the primary beneficial chemical of essential oregano oil – but have it in lower concentrations. Thyme is the best oregano substitute and may have up to 75% carvacrol (or as low as 5%, so check your labels before buying any thyme oil product)