Oregano – Health Benefits And Risks

You probably know oregano as the spice that is sprinkled on delicacies. This herb has a balsamic flavor and an appealing aroma. Originally from Northern Europe, it wasn’t until the 20th century that oregano came to America. The spice is an abundant source of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium, and home to many antioxidant compounds. Since it is nutrient-dense, it comes with many benefits for health.

Some of the beneficial properties of oregano have been discussed below:

1 – Antioxidant Properties

Oregano contains antioxidants that reduce the damage which free radicals cause. The herb has several many phytonutrients that double-up as antioxidants that protect cell structures in the body. Calculated on the basis of per gram weight, oregano has more antioxidants than even apples, oranges, blueberries and potatoes.

2 – Antibacterial Properties

Certain compounds in the herb also boast antibacterial properties. The thymol and carvacrol found in oregano can suppress the growth of certain bacteria. Oregano essential oil is one of the most powerful antibacterial essential oils, following only thyme essential oil.

3 – Antiviral Properties

Due to the fact that oregano contains many healing compounds, it also has antiviral properties. In the cases of some viral infections, oregano essential oil has proven itself as a better treatment option than prescribed drugs. However, this antiviral essential oil must not be taken in combination with other drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

4 – Anti-inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is a healthy, normal, and natural response of the body. However, prolonged inflammation can birth several many diseases and is anything but healthy. Since oregano is packed with a whole lot of antioxidants, it may be able to fight off inflammation along with harmful free radicals. Some studies on animals have shown the herb’s effective anti-inflammatory action.

5 – Anti-Cancer Properties

Oregano may have anti-cancer properties as well as it is a rich source of antioxidants. These compounds can fight off health-damaging free radicals and may play a role in preventing cancer. A study showed how the carvacrol content in oregano can assist in the prevention of colon cancer.

Adverse Side Effects Of Oregano

Oregano is used for both cooking and medicinal purposes. When taken in small amounts, as used when sprinkling the herb on dishes, it is considered safe. However, research is needed to determine the safety of using oregano for medicinal purposes.

Some adverse side effects associated with oregano’s use for medicinal purposes are the following:

  • In very large doses the herb holds the potential to be toxic, even lethal
  • It may exhibit diuretic properties
  • It may cause can an upset stomach
  • When directly applied onto skin, it may cause a rash


Oregano comes loaded with minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These give the herb several health-benefiting properties. The safety of the spice when it comes to medicinal purposes is not known. However, adding a dash of oregano to your dishes is safe.