Every time that you order a pizza, the one thing you most likely reach out for is that small jar of oregano? It tastes yummy and adds that extra life to your food. Well, if that is how it has been popular till now, it’s time you heard of its other and more important benefits as well.
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What is Oregano?
Oregano is scientifically known as Origanum vulgare and belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). In Greek, oregano is called “joy of the mountains.” It is also known as wild marjoram. The oregano plant is a perennial which grows up to two feet. It is found in the mountain regions of Greece and other Mediterranean countries. These are also cultivated in Mexico.
The Mediterranean oregano is milder than the Mexican oregano. The oregano plant has tiny leaves which have a pungent aroma. These leaves are widely used in various Mediterranean cuisines. The plant bears pink or purple flowers. These flowers are also edible and are used in some rice dishes, pasta, pizza and any broccoli dishes.
Oregano leaves are used in a fresh or dried form. Dried oregano has a stronger flavor than fresh ones. The chemicals that give the herb its unique flavor are thymol, carvacrol, ocimene, limonene, pinene, and caryophyllene. Apart from their culinary usage, these herbs have been used in medicines for thousands of years with a number of health benefits.
Per 100 grams oregano contain 4.3 gm fat, 25mg sodium, 1,260mg potassium, 69gm carbohydrates, and 9gm protein, including vitamin A (34%), calcium (159%), vitamin C (3%), iron (204%), vitamin B6 (50%) and magnesium (67%). Oregano contains no cholesterol.
Given here are the amazing oregano benefits for skin, hair, and health. Let’s have a look at its health benefits first:
Oregano Health Benefits
Some of the most popular health benefits of oregano are listed below.
- Eating fresh oregano leaves on a regular basis can help boost the immune system.
- Oregano is a good source of vitamin A, iron, and manganese.
- Oregano is a rich source of Vitamin K, a vital vitamin that is quite often ignored. Vitamin K is known to promote cardiovascular health and is integral to keeping calcium out of the arteries. It effectively helps in the bone development and promotes proper blood clotting too.
- Dry oregano, when ingested, acts as a health tonic. Rich in essential oils such as carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene and caryophyllene, the leaves and flowering stems of oregano have strong antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, cholagogues (aids in gall bladder secretions), diaphoretic (sweat production), expectorant and stimulant properties. It aids in the treatment of colds, mild fevers, influenza, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation symptoms.
- Recent research reveals that a gram of oregano has 42 times more antioxidant properties than apples since it is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Hence oregano acts as a protective scavenger against free radicals that play a role in aging and various skin diseases.
- Rich source of dietary fiber of oregano helps to control cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Thymol and carvacrol, two active compounds of oregano, increase digestion power. Thymol is also known for its antibacterial and antiseptic activities.
- Thymol and carvacrol can relieve fever, influenza, and abdominal pain immediately.
- Thymol also soothes the body during sleep.
- This herb is an excellent source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and calcium.
- Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure caused by high sodium.
- Magnesium and calcium are important elements for bone metabolism.
- Manganese is a potent source of antioxidant and iron helps prevent anemia.
- Oregano oil helps to relieve congestion. A common solution to congestion is to add three drops of oregano oil in a glass of juice or warm water and drink this daily for four or five days.
- It is an effective aid for irregular menstruation and reduces the negative effect of menopause.
- Oregano oil provides sedating effects on the hypersensitivity of allergies.
- Oregano oil is a potential antioxidant.
- It stimulates the flow of bile in the digestive organs. In the case of mild indigestion, you can drink a glass of milk, juice, or warm water that is mixed with two or three drops of oregano oil.
- Oregano oil helps to cure itches, skin infections, and irritated gums. But always mix it with olive or coconut oil before applying. Usually, one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil per one drop of oregano oil is ideal for the skin.
- Oregano oil acts as an excellent medicine to treat cold or a sore throat. Mix three drops of oregano oil into a glass of juice daily, especially during winter season once daily. You can feel the result within few hours.
Oregano Skin Benefits
- Oregano benefits the skin by treating acne or pimples. It has amazing antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Oregano is widely used in medicated skin care products such as foot creams, skin toner and face wash. You can also make an easy DIY face mask and skin toner at home.
- Mix ¼ cup Aloe Vera, one tablespoon cucumber juice and three drops (not more) of oregano oil.
- Mix them well.
- Apply the mixture on the affected area.
- Leave it for five minutes and then rinse off with cold water.
Make sure your skin is not allergic to oregano oil by applying it on your hand. If your skin feels itchy, don’t use this mask.
- If you have an oily skin and suffer from acne, this homemade oregano toner can be a great help.
- Take some dried oregano leaves and boil them in 3 cups of drinking water for ten minutes.
- Allow them to cool.
- Pour them in an airtight glass container through a strainer and store it in the fridge.
- Apply this toner on the affected area or all over the face.
- Besides treating acne, this toner will also give you an oil free and tighter facial skin.
- You can use this homemade toner for seven days.
Oregano Hair Benefits
- Oregano oil is used in a wide range of hair care products for its multitude of medicinal and therapeutic properties.
- If you have an itchy scalp, oregano oil might be a good option as it has many antibacterial properties.
- Just mix two to three drops of oregano oil with any hair oil.
- You can use olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil and apply to your scalp.
- Wash your hair with a medicated shampoo after 45 minutes.
- This is good for color treated hair too.
- Oregano oil also fights against dandruff.
- Mix two or three drops of oregano oil in your shampoo (use a mild and medicated herbal shampoo).
- Apply it all over your hair.
- Allow this for two or three minutes.
- Then wash your hair with lukewarm water.
- Repeat this procedure once again.
- Be careful about the lather so that it doesn’t come in contact with your eyes.
The above-mentioned home remedies can be used for hair loss treatment too. You can apply the following hair mask as a Hair Detangle.
- Mix two tablespoons dried oregano or ½ cup fresh oregano leaves, one tablespoon vanilla extract and one cup water.
- Warm this mixture for 45 seconds on low heat. You can also microwave it for 30 seconds.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Pour it into an airtight container or put in a spray bottle.
- Store it in the fridge.
- Use this mixture all over hair after you’ve finished your shampoo and conditioner.
- Comb your hair after it is towel dried.
You can use this mixture for up to seven days.
Oregano leaves extract or oregano oil is used in producing perfumes. Due to its natural aroma, it is especially used in men’s perfume or aftershave lotion.
A Common Confusion
Oregano is often confused with marjoram, a perennial herb that looks like oregano. But marjoram is sweeter than oregano. Also, its leaves are slightly hairy, and they are gray-green in color.
Oregano Cooking Tips
Oregano leaves go well with artichokes, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, pasta, chicken, fish, lamb, etc.
Fresh oregano is best to use in cooking. Before using them, strip the leaves from the stem and crush them in your palm, so that essential oil can release.
Do not use too much oregano leaves in any dish. It can make your food bitter.
Mix one tablespoon dried oregano powder to two tablespoon chili powder. Use this mixture when you are preparing any vegetable or meat dishes.
If you are going to use dried oregano leaves in your cooking, simply crush them in your hand before adding. It will enhance the flavor of your food.
Both dried and fresh leaves are used in pizza and pasta sauce.
Italian vinaigrette sauce is incomplete without oregano leaves.
Oregano leaves make an outstanding marinade for chicken, lamb, or beef.
Add oregano leaves at the end of cooking, especially when you are about to prepare some vegetable dishes such as zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower.
Spread some cheese or butter on your bread and sprinkle some crushed dried oregano leaves on it. Microwave it for five minutes.
This is a great appetizer.
Oregano flowers are also edible. They can be used in various salads for their spicy flavor.
How To Prepare Dried Oregano
Cut fresh oregano stalks and hang them upside down in a dry and airy room with access to sunlight.
Let them dry for a week.
Separate the flowers from the leaves when they are dried enough.
Now separate the leaves from the stalk by running your hand up and down the branch. Discard the stalk.
Turn dried leaves into powder by crushing them into your palm. You can use this dried oregano for up to six months.
Pour this powder into an airtight container.
If you are running short of time, just separate the oregano leaves from the stalk and place the leaves in a flat dish. Microwave them on low heat till they are dried. Allow it to cool and crush them so that they become powdery. Store it in an airtight container.
How To Store Fresh Oregano
- Always buy oregano leaves that have a bright color.
- Tie the stalks together at the base with a piece of thread.
- Keep it in a plastic bag.
- Store them in the fridge to retain the freshness.
- Chop some oregano leaves.
- Make a paste out of it.
- Place this paste in an ice cube tray.
- Now allow this paste to freeze.
- You can use this paste for up to one year.
How To Make Oregano Sauce
- Take one onion (diced) and cook it for five minutes (do not let it get brown).
- Add a bit of salt and black pepper.
- Add two tablespoon garlic paste and one and a half cup tomato paste.
- Stir it for two minutes.
- Now add some dried oregano powder according to taste.
- Again add some salt and black pepper.
- You can add a little bit of sugar if you wish.
2 Easy And Healthy Recipes Using Oregano
Here are two easy and tasty yet healthy recipes which you can make at home.
1. Baked Chicken With Lemon And Oregano
- 500 grams thinly sliced the potato.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 pieces chicken thighs
- 8 shallots
- 1 lemon, (sliced)
- 5 oregano sprigs
- 100 ml white wine
- 200 ml chicken stock
- Marinate the chicken thighs with lemon juice and salt.
- Coat the potato slices with one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Roast them for twenty minutes in microwave 200/220 degree Celsius.
- Now add the marinated chicken along with shallot, lemon slices, oregano.
- Drizzle with remaining oil.
- Again place this baking tray in the oven.
- Cook it for 20 minutes.
- Pour over the wine and the chicken stock.
- Finally, cook it for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.
2. Fresh Tomato Pasta With Oregano
- One packet penne pasta
- 100 grams boneless chicken (boiled)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Three tomatoes seeded and diced
- Four garlic cloves, minced
- One or two tablespoons pine nuts lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions written on the packet.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the boiled chicken for ten minutes.
- Add cloves, tomatoes, pine nuts, oregano, red pepper and black pepper one after the other.
- Add some salt and sugar according to taste.
- Stir it for five minutes or until the tomatoes get tender.
- Once done, toss it with the cooked pasta.
- Serve it with parmesan cheese.
Oregano Side Effects
Oregano oil may reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron. Hence, it is advised to take oregano oil with regular consumption of iron supplements. Women are advised not to take oregano oil during their pregnancy. Anyone allergic to mint should avoid oregano oil or oregano since this herb belongs to the mint family. It is preferable to consult your doctor to discuss on oregano benefits and side effects before its consumption.
We hope you enjoy this beneficial herb as something more than just your pizza topping. Give it a shot and tell us about it! Stay fit, stay healthy!
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