When we think of essential oils, we often don’t think of the herbs of essential oils. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowers and leaves of the plant and used to treat colds/flu, inflammation, yeast infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, allergies, painful menstrual cycles, parasites, respiratory problems, and pain.
Often people confuse oregano oil with oregano essential oil. Oregano oil is a gentle base oil that has been infused with oregano. Oregano essential oil is not diluted and comes with a host of safety concerns. However, when used wisely it is a great essential oil to have on hand.
Oregano essential oil is from the phenol chemical compound family. Phenols are one of two chemical families (aldehydes being the other) that come with a host of safety concerns. They are some of the strongest microbial oils. The concern with oregano oil is with two of the constituents (components) within the phenol chemical family, thymol and carvacrol, making up about 65% of the oil’s structure. (1)
But with the safety steps we cover in this article, you can reap the benefits without these issues being a concern.
1. Treat Skin Infections
Oregano essential oil has shown anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, tissue remodeling, and immunomodulatory properties, which makes oregano a great oil for your skin when used properly. One study concluded the following: “We suggest that OEO, with carvacrol as the major active component, is a promising candidate for use in skin care products with anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.” (2)
Oregano comes with some concerns and, with such oils, we approach them cautiously so we can enjoy them without the possibility of creating irritation and, in turn, cause sensitization to the oil. There are three main factors that will determine skin reactivity no matter what the type of reaction.
With oregano, Robert Tisserand recommends a topical maximum of 1.1% or approximately 10 drops per ounce of carrier. This is for healthy, adult skin.
The susceptibility of the individual is also taken into consideration so we should take the following into consideration.
Keeping safety in mind, oregano is wonderful in blends to treat skin irritations. Using oregano, we can create a healing oil for psoriasis, eczema, acne, pimples, and other skin irritations and inflammation. For carrier oils, you can use coconut oil for eczema treatment in particular.
Along with the oregano, we’ve used gentle essential oils. When using essential oils that may be irritants, blending with skin-friendly oils reduces the possibility of a reaction to the blend.
*One carrier to consider for this recipe would be Apricot Kernel CP (cold pressed), which is wonderful on prematurely aging, sensitive, or inflamed skin and absorbs easily. Another is carrot seed oil, which is great for premature aging, itching, burning, dryness, psoriasis, eczema, rejuvenation, and reduction of scars.
2. Improve Mouth and Digestive Health
Because of its irritating properties and safety concerns, I don’t recommend oregano essential oil for oral use unless under the advisement of a clinical aromatherapist trained in internal use.
However, oregano oil, which is much gentler than essential oil, is a great alternative for oral and internal use. It carries the same properties, and although not as potent, it is still very effective. It does not come with the same risks as the essential oil, thus allowing you to repeatedly use it over a longer period of time to ease symptoms without the same safety concerns.
There are several methods of using oregano herb that are quite effective in addressing digestive issues. You can infuse one teaspoon of fresh or dried oregano herb in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drinking a cup before, during, and after your meal is soothing and relieves various digestive issues.
You can also do a fluid extract, which can be made by combining one-part herb with one-part fluid. For example, you would use 250 grams of herb to 250 ml of a high-grade alcohol (not rubbing alcohol). The ratio of herbs can vary from 3(fluid):1(herb) to 8:1. What ratio you choose depends on the herb and the potency you are going for. (4)
One great use for the infusions and extracts is for Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a type of yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults. (5)
If you so choose to use oregano essential oil, repeated uses orally or internally should not exceed 7-10 days due to the concern possible hepatotoxicity. (6)
3. Relieve Sore Muscles
Oregano essential oil is relaxing to the muscles, it helps ease rheumatoid arthritis, and eases aches and pains of the daily use of muscles. The following blend is great to have on hand after a hard workout. We’ve kept our oregano at a very safe, low dilution ratio so we can reap the benefits with few concerns.
Please keep in mind the previously mentioned safety concerns when using oregano essential oil. Oregano is not for those who are pregnant, nursing, babies, small children, or those with sensitive skin. Do a small skin patch test prior to using oregano essential oil. After diluting, apply a small amount to your wrist where the skin is thin. Wait 10 minutes. If there is no reaction, you should be able to safely use your blend.
Using a carrier that is also great for sore muscles gives us extra healing power. It also adds another layer of protection to the skin when it is a skin healing carrier oil. For this, I recommend arnica.
Arnica infused oil is often applied externally on unbroken skin or to treat sore muscles and joints as well as bruising, sprains, and strains. Try making a salve for arthritic conditions with the oils above. Arnica is a rubefacient, meaning it does its work by bringing more blood to the injured area causing a slight irritation.
To learn how to make a salve, visit me at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYDZs-_hOS4.
*Stretching cold muscles before a workout is not always best. Stretching after a workout will help keep muscles pliable and lessen the discomfort after an intense workout. After a good stretch and warm shower when your skin is more receptive, apply your blend*
4. Relieve Joint Pain
As with muscle pain, oregano is excellent in easing joint pain. Using the previously mentioned carrier oil will be most effective. Try the following blend to soothe achy joints.
Apply 3-4 times a day, especially after showering when the skin is clean, warm, and most receptive.
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5. Treat Athlete’s Foot
Oregano is fungicidal and when blended with other oils with similar properties, it can help to combat athlete’s foot.
Try the following:
*Tamanu oil is a great antifungal carrier oil. It also treats scars, stretch marks (fading them with great results), minor wounds, skin irritations, rashes, bedsores, and many other skin concerns. Tamanu promotes new tissue formation, accelerates healing and healthy skin growth, is an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-bacterial.
6. Get Rid of Nail Fungus
Following the previous recipe, apply 3-4 times a day for at least 7-10 days. Avoid nail polish as it blocks moisture and creates the perfect setting for nail fungal infections.
7. Cure Ringworm
Ringworm of the body is a fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin. Unfortunately, it is highly contagious and can easily pass to others. You’ll develop round, itchy, scaly, red patches.
Ringworm is simply a fungal infection. Athlete’s foot is ringworm of the feet. If it appears in your groin area, it is referred to as jock itch. Follow the previous blend and avoid contact with others until it has cleared.
*Do not use oregano oil within 2 weeks of a scheduled surgery.*
8. Remove Warts
Oregano essential oil has been noted to be effective on warts. Blend 1 drop of oregano essential oil with 1 tablespoon of a carrier and apply 3-4 times a day. It’s best to soak, cleanse, and dry thoroughly before applying. Depriving the wart of oxygen will eradicate it more quickly. Be sure not to get the essential oil on the surrounding skin.
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9. Get Rid of Parasites
Oregano essential oil is an anti-parasitic. Following the recommendations outlined in the section on the mouth and digestive health may help rid the body of parasites.
10. Treat Head Lice
Seems like every young parent gets to face their children bringing home head lice. There are several steps we can do to help prevent the passing of head lice. For little girls, keeping their hair in braids or up in a ponytail is helpful. As a young mother of three daughters, I found using hairspray on my daughters’ hair helped to keep lice from attaching to the hair follicles. To treat head lice, try the following blend outlined by Dr. Valnet. (7)
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11. Relieve Sinus Congestion from Colds
Oregano helps to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu.
Cough, Cold and Congestion Blend
Apply to chest and neck, especially at night.
*Talk to your healthcare provider prior to using oregano oil if you are being treated for diabetes or have a bleeding disorder.*
12. Treat Respiratory Infections
Because of oregano’s powerful actions on bronchitis and whooping cough, it’s great in blends to ease congestion and open airways.
Try the following:
This is for adult use only. Apply to chest and neck area 3-4 times a day, especially before bed.
13. Treat Nervous Disorders
Many are unaware of the effects of oregano on the nervous system. Oregano herb can be used to make a very stimulating nerve tonic. It eases noises in the ears, migraines, facial tics, and has a profound effect on psychopathic conditions. Oregano offers a feeling of well being. (8)
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14. Treat Genito-Urinary Issues
During “that time of the month,” cramps can be very painful. Oregano essential oils assist with easing cramps. Whether this is due to the actions as a diuretic is still unknown, but much relief can be achieved with oregano. Try applying the following blend to your lower abdominal area and lower back to combat menstrual aches and pains.