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Oregano oil is truly a remarkable little miracle herb. Research studies confirm oregano oil benefits a variety of conditions, but its most impressive use involves its ability to fight a variety of infections. Oregano oil is such a powerful home remedy, it may very well be the most important bottle in your medicine cabinet.
Below, we take a closer look at the five top ways that oregano oil can benefit your health.
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1. Oregano oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Traditional healers since ancient times have used oregano extract to treat respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats, and bronchitis. These types of respiratory infections are typically caused by viruses or bacteria. Based on notable research studies, oil of oregano benefits immunity because it helps improve symptoms of respiratory infection due to its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The volatile oils in oregano include thymol and carvacrol, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria including Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus—the bacteria often responsible for respiratory infections. In fact, oregano oil is considered a broad-spectrum antibacterial, which means it kills both gram positive and gram negative bacteria species. In addition, oregano oil capsules have been shown to be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.[2–4]
Furthermore, oregano oil benefits those suffering from respiratory infections or the flu because it promotes sweating, which makes it useful to bring a fever down. The oil also can be used to clear lungs and bronchial passages by mixing with a base of oil and rubbing it on the chest and aching muscles or by boiling it with hot water or adding it to a vaporizer to inhale the steam.
2. Oregano oil fights urinary tract infections (UTI).
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common urinary pathogen and the third-leading cause of hospital-acquired UTI. Oregano oil benefits patients who suffer from UTIs due to its high content of carvacrol, which eradicates Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.[5,6] Wild oregano oil with the highest content contain 75 to 85 percent carvacrol. It also inhibits growth of E. Coli (Escherichia coli O157:H7) and Proteus, bacteria that also cause UTIs.
3. Oregano oil benefits fungal and yeast infections.
Aside from bacteria, oregano is also a very potent antifungal herb. In fact, oregano oil may be a more powerful anti-fungal agent than many commercial products on the market. Oregano oil is effective in eliminating the fungus that causes athlete’s foot as well as treating fungal infections on the skin and nails.
Oregano oil is also effective at inhibiting the Candida fungi (yeast). It is more effective than other natural supplements in cases of yeast infections resistant to the conventional drug fluconazole (Diflucan), according to research published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.
4. Oregano oil kills parasites.
Giardia is an amoeba, common throughout the world. There are more than 200 million people infected with Giardia each year. Research studies indicate that oregano is effective against Giardia.
Oregano oil even protects against parasitic infiltration both in a physical environment and within the body. This includes round worms, tape worms, bed bugs, lice, fleas, and mosquitoes.
5. Oregano oil protects against food-borne illnesses as well as digestive issues.
Studies have demonstrated antibacterial activity of essential oils against some of the most common food-borne pathogens, among them Listeria, Salmonella, E-Coli, and Shigella dysenteria (which causes dysentery).[10,11] In fact, you can add oregano oil to your eggs, meat, seafood, salad, or other dishes to actually prevent food poisoning microbes from growing. You can also add a few drops to your leftovers to prevent food spoilage.
The most common symptoms of food-borne illness tend to be digestive issues. Oregano oil’s high content of carvacrol and thymol can help calm down stomach upset and aid in digestion by stimulating bile flow. Therefore, symptoms of food-borne illness—including nausea, vomiting, and indigestion, among others—can be alleviated by using the oil. Oregano oil also kills Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that cause gastric ulcers. It can help with bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and/or bloating and indigestion.
How to Take Oregano Oil
Now that you know the amazing oregano oil benefits, you need to know how to safely take the herb. It’s widely available in bottled liquid extract, capsule, and tablet form; wild P73 oregano oil is the most potent. (Please note that before you begin an oregano oil supplement, advice from a healthcare professional is strongly encouraged.) In our post “How To Take Oregano Oil,” you’ll find details on how and how much oregano oil to take for specific ailments or purposes.
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 Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Aug 1;94(3):223-53.
 Food Microbiol. 2013 May;34(1):123-9.
This article was originally published in 2012 and is regularly updated.