You’ve likely heard of the herb, maybe even used it in your kitchen, but did you know oregano oil could help you combat sickness?

Delight of the Mountains
Oregano is a traditional herbal medicine of the eastern Mediterranean, where for centuries it has been used for the common cold, among other things. Based on surveys of traditionally used medicines, it is consistently considered to be the most popular herb of these regions It grows atop the mountains there, and farmers who graze their flocks at high altitudes typically spend the warmer months harvesting the plant and steam-distilling its essential oils.

The essential oil of oregano is known especially for its phenol components, notably carvacrol. It is carvacrol that is considered the primary marker of potency, even though (as with all complex herbal medicines), it is the concerted interplay of components that ideally should be considered in the judgement of quality, not unlike how one might judge a fine wine—which is not simply by its alcohol content.

Oregano Oil Dilution – The Art of Dissimulation
Virtually all oregano essential oil is diluted, mostly at 1:5 or, less often, 1:4. All the same, labels state the carvacrol content as 85 or even 90% plus. This is misleading. A comparison is illustrative here. The minimum carvacrol content of our pure Certified Organic oregano oil is 72%, but this is the quantity before dilution. If you take our Oréganum Plus 1:1, for example, once diluted in this ratio, the minimum carvacrol content becomes 37.5%. This is a much greater amount than you’ll get with a 1:4 or 1:5 dilution. In point of fact, even our more diluted 1:3 version of oregano oil is stronger than that of most of our competitors. This means that, when you do the math, you’re getting considerably more “bang for your buck” with our product. This is a case where the devil is very much in the details.

Synergy is Boss
It should be noted as well that studies find that it is oregano essential oil in its total synergy that is best at preventing and treating chronic infections. Which is to say that its effectiveness is not a function of its carvacrol or isolated constituents, but rather the harmony of all constituents as they naturally occur in oregano. So an oregano oil even with a hypothetical 90% or more of carvacrol is not demonstrably superior.

A recent research article elaborates on this point in rather compelling terms: “The antimicrobial activity of a given essential oil may depend on only one or two of the major constituents that make up the oil. However, increasing amounts of evidence indicate that the inherent activity of essential oils may not only rely exclusively on the ratio in which the main active constituents are present, but also on interactions between these and minor constituents in the oils and oleoresins.”

Oregano’s Health Benefits
Botanist James Duke, PhD describes oregano as “simply loaded with antiseptic compounds”. Carvacrol and its sister phenol, thymol, act as mucus thinners and cough relievers. Such properties make it a useful remedy in treating respiratory disorders, ranging from pneumonia, sinus congestion, and hay fever to chronic bronchitis and rhinitis.

Oregano essential oil also has COX-2 inhibiting properties, beneficial for arthritis, while in some studies it outperformed anti-inflammatory drugs in reversing pain and inflammation.

Unique Properties of Oréganum Plus gelcaps
Garlic has, of course, been used against infection since time immemorial, including viral infections. As for black seed oil, it has also been used medicinally for centuries, and contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-allergy. The combination of ingredients is ideal for those who suffer with chronic or acute sinus issues.

Nature’s Pièce de Résistance
Microbes, especially of a lingering or difficult to treat nature, as well as allergies, are very commonplace complaints that consumers come into the health food store to address. Oregano essential oil is ideally suited to these conditions and offers a powerful tool in the repertoire of natural products.

The Products

St. Francis Herb farm’s oregano essential oil line includes:

  • Oréganum Plus 1:1 (combined with olive oil in a 1:1 dilution).
  • Oréganum Plus 1:3
  • Oréganum Essence: a tincture of oregano leaf, coupled with 1% essential oil.
  • Oréganum Plus gelcaps: oregano essential oil, garlic essential oil and cold-pressed black seed oil.