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10 Impressive Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

Fight cancer, prevent mosquito bites, heal bruises, and more.

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Oregano oil improves gut health

Consuming oregano oil can aid the flow of bile into the digestive organs. As a result, this assists the digestion process. “Oregano oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties lend to its potential to help rebalance dysbiotic bacteria and fungi in the gut,” says Amanda Frick, naturopathic doctor and director of medical affairs for Thorne Research in South Carolina. She says that the oil “is commonly tested in gut analyses for susceptibility in potentially pathogenic bacteria/fungi and may be effective against pathogens that may become resistant to antibiotics and antifungals.” In other words, if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), or other digestive issues, you may want to explore oregano oil.

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Oregano oil can help with colds

Frick explains that in addition to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, oregano oil “has been found to be effective against certain viruses.” For example, it may be especially effective against viruses that can affect the respiratory tract. “Antiviral effect along with antioxidant and analgesic properties may offer a potent trifecta against the cold and flu.” Why? Oregano oil contains thymol, a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties. Therefore, it may protect against toxins. For example, it works by helping to loosen or eliminate the buildup of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract. As an anti-inflammatory, it can act as a soothing agent for coughs.

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Oregano oil can fight bacterial infections

Oregano oil’s main ingredient, carvacrol, has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. According to a review in a 2016 issue of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, carvacrol effectively keeps food-borne pathogens like E.coli at bay. However, the benefits don’t stop there. “Oregano oil’s antibacterial properties can be effective against types of bacteria that can inhabit the digestive, upper respiratory and urinary tracts, to help fight infection,” Frick says.

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Oregano oil repels bugs

Some research shows that this aromatic oil repels bugs. For example, its main active ingredient, carvacrol, may help. It may repel lice, fleas, mosquitoes, and bed bugs. In fact, a 2018 issue of the Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases notes that “…oregano essential oil showed more potential as repellent compound than 33% DEET, a commercial product, against bed bugs.” So, you may want to skip the brand names the next time you’re at the store!

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Oregano oil can fight disease

A report published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2017 found that there may oregano oil may play a role in keeping tumors at bay. Researchers studied oregano oil’s potential benefits in lab environment cancer models. They noted a “distinct tumour-suppressive effect of oregano in the breast cancer model.” However, more studies need to be conducted. Therefore, speak to your doctor about essential oil therapies before using them.

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Oregano oil reduces pain

If you’re experiencing muscle pain or stiffness, oregano oil may be your new best friend. Frick says that animal studies have shown promise when it comes to compounds in oregano oil. Specifically, they’ve looked at its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation reduction, she explains, may be associated with pain and stiffness reduction. So, if you’re aching after a strenuous workout, turn to oregano oil. First, create a mixture with equal parts oregano oil and olive oil. Next, apply topically to the affected area.

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Oregano oil protects skin

If you have a bruise and want to heal it faster, turn to oregano oil. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the swelling and pain. Rub the oil over your bruise to help it heal faster. Say good-bye to unsightly green-blue skin!

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Oregano oil treats rashes

Oregano oil dissolves the poison ivy resin that causes an itchy rash. That’s due, in part, to its anti-inflammatory properties. They help calm swelling, redness, and itchiness. Apply oregano diluted with olive oil. This combination will help soothe a poison ivy rash.

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Oregano oil helps with allergies

Oregano oil may provide all-natural relief from environmental allergy symptoms. Therefore, if you want to avoid medications, it may be ideal. Its anti inflammatory properties work as a natural antihistamine. As a result, it can help reduce swelling and fluid buildup caused by allergy symptoms. “Oregano oil has been studied to modify how the immune system responds to potential allergens, and may offer benefit to allergy sufferers by reducing symptoms like runny nose,” Frick says. So, it may be worth giving oregano oil a try.

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Oregano oil may help with weight control

The essential oil may help pack a punch against unwanted weight. Its main active ingredient, carvacrol, has been shown to modify weight gain. Even more, it may even lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Frick adds that weight gain has been linked to inflammation. Interestingly, inflammation is one of several physiological aspects related to weight gain. Therefore, oregano oil, which has promising anti-inflammatory properties, may help. Furthermore, she explains that the oil may help the body decrease production of new fat cells.

Sources
Medically reviewed by Elisabetta Politi, CDE, MPH, RD, on September 19, 2019
Originally Published in Reader's Digest