Essential oils are nothing but a trap for gullible health nuts.
For most of my life, I rolled my eyes whenever friends mentioned essential oils. That all changed when I discovered Dr. Cass Ingram’s The Cure is in the Cupboard [Amazon]. She spends hundreds of pages covering one specific oil: oregano.
Dumbfounded by the claims, I scrutinized PubMed and the internet. I gave essential oils a last chance.
I picked up my Amazon arrival and brushed off Cass’s warning. How strong can this stuff really be? I put a single drop of undiluted oil of oregano on my tongue. Seconds later I regretted it. Pain. Fiery habanero pepper-like burn swelled inside my mouth. Clearly, I had some re-evaluation to do.
Fast forward a few years, and oil of oregano is now the core anti-biotic in my first aid kit. I use it to stay healthy year-round. It has earned a spot in my minimal one-bag travel packing. Here’s your guide to using nature’s premier wellness tonic to stay healthy and recover faster.
Oregano Oil: The Forgotten Herb You’ve Never Tried
Tempted to double up on your saucy oregano-rich pasta and pizza nights? No use. I’d bet that you’ve never had real, pure oregano. Even as a spice, commercial oregano is actually a related plant called marjoram. Marjoram has a more pleasant mild flavor. Sadly, marjoram lacks oregano’s wonderful benefits.Unless you grow it yourself, you've probably never tried real oregano. Click To Tweet
For most of us, the way to get appreciable amounts of this once-common herb is through essential oils.
200 pounds of raw, wild, oregano herb concentrate down into just two pounds of oil. Of the 50+ active ingredients in oregano, most research centers around three compounds:
- Rosmarinic acid
Prized by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, oil of oregano has potent effects in treating 53+ conditions, and is one of the strongest antibiotics known to man. It’s natural, safe, and effective.
The Long List of Oil of Oregano Benefits
Dr Berg summarizes a few of oregano’s top benefits:
My notes from Cass’s book include 53 benefits of oregano. Mostly following into the following categories:
- Injury recovery
In the pre-penicillin world, doctors readily prescribed antibiotic herbs. On its own, oregano oil does something modern prescription antibiotics cannot:
- Inhibits growth of fungus
- Inhibits and destroys bacteria
- Destroys viruses
- Destroys parasites
Dr. Ingram covers how oil of oregano can help reverse and prevent:
- Ear infections
- The common cold
- Sinus infections (sinusitis)
- Small intenstine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Canker sores
- Flea bites
- Food poisoning
- Root canal
And plenty of others.
Recent research even shows that oil of oregano destroys super-germs like MRSA. MRSA is resistant to synthetic antibiotics. But not oregano.
Oregano shines for its sanitization and sterilization, but doubles as a beauty serum. It improves the functionality of the entire body, including the skin and mouth.
In Cure is in the Cupboard, Cass discusses oregano’s use in healing:
- Bad breath
- Body odor
- Gum disease
- Poison Ivy & Oak
- Varicose Veins
Toxic box store products provide temporary relief—potentially causing further damage—while oregano addresses the underlying issues and works equally well.
Inflammation is considered the root of most diseases. After its antibiotic effects, oil of oregano is known for its strong anti-inflammatory effects. Between collegiate Football & Rugby, I’ve had my share of injury. To quickly quell inflammation and pain, I make an Icy Hot style muscle rub using oregano.
But it’s not limited to athletic injuries. Oregano can provides much-needed inflammatory relief for:
- Wild animal bites
- Muscle soreness, pulled muscles, torn muscles, ligament injuries, leg cramps, muscle aches
- Arthritic pain
- Frostbite recovery
- Allergic reaction
One way this special oil works is by increasing blood flow which in turn enhances oxygen delivery, healing speed, and regeneration.
How I Biohack With Oil of Oregano
I use this essential oil in some unusual ways.
Forever-Fresh & Clean Foods
Oregano keeps food fresh. By killing pathogens omnipresent in food, it lasts in the fridge for far longer. The common spoilers like E. coli, salmonella, listeria, staph, and mold can’t grow in the presence of it.
According to Dr. Ingram, raw tuna coated in oregano oil stayed fresh for six weeks!
To use it effectively, I add two drops to:
- Oily foods
- Raw vegetables
Perfect for unknown restaurants or travel to countries with questionable food safety standards.
Public Spaces & Gym Showers
I often walk barefoot in public spaces. Sometimes I forget my sandals, and I hesitate to consider the cleanliness of gym locker room floors. People sometimes develop warts, candida, “athlete’s foot” fungus, and ringworm from heavily trafficked surfaces.
I hack potential microbial infestations by applying a drop of oregano oil to each of my feet after my shower.
As I relocated, my deodorant ended up in the bottom box. Rather than complain or worry about offending passerbyes, I applied a drop of oregano oil to each armpit.
It kills the body-odor causing microbes while simultaneously acting as an antiperspirant. Granted, I smelled like oregano but could be worse.
One study found that septic water was sterilized by oil of oregano.
I wouldn’t recommend oregano as a first-line defense against contaminated water. But when outdoors and the water bottle runs out, a stream can be lifesaving.
Oregano can sterilize water by killing the germs responsible for food poisoning. These include:
- Drug-resistent E. coli
- Amebic dysentery
House Sterilization & Cleaning
Microbes love modern homes. Especially kitchens and bathrooms. Since we store food in the kitchen (which we eventually eat), it’s important to keep clean.
I used noxious cleaning products throughout my childhood until I discovered grapefruit seed extract. An even better antiseptic, however, is oregano oil.There's no better household cleaning solution than oil of oregano. Click To Tweet
I add five to ten drops to a spray bottle full of water (and other essential oils for good effect), shake, and spray liberally. I cover:
And any other dirty surface. As a bonus, since oil of oregano is extremely volatile, it instantly sterilizes the air. The air feels noticeably lighter and more refreshing post-oregano.
According to modern Bioregulatory medicine, and the ancient practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the mouth is intricately connected to the rest of the body. As unfeasible as it sounds, the health of your teeth and gums can affect organ systems throughout your body.
Oregano can be your standalone oral health product.
Combining the mechanical action of a toothbrush with oil of oregano’s antibiotic properties improves overall mouth health. The solvent properties of oregano oil also help remove stains and hardened plaque. Since this oil strengthens the gums, teeth, and destroys germs, in a pinch it can replace toothpaste.
Pounds of Spice in Every Drop
Likely what you expect out of oregano, the oil makes great seasoning. Forget about the tiny cartons of grocery store herbs that go bad in days. This oil lasts.
Oregano blends well with fats and is an especially versatile complement to red meats, poultry, fatty fish, cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Other spices that pair nicely with oregano include garlic, onion, mint, sage, sour grape, and Rhus coriaria.
How to Choose the Best Oil of Oregano Products
Had I purchased some cheap, run-of-the-mill oregano oil I might not have burnt my tongue. And thus never explored its potential.
So where can you buy quality oregano oil?
Locally at a place like Whole Foods or online at Amazon. But choose wisely as some products are worse than useless.
When comparing different oregano products, look for:
- Organic: more bioactive compounds and less chemicals.
- Carvacrol content. Should be at least 80%. Cheap brands often skimp on this primary active ingredient.
- Food grade. The forms not made for consumption contain residual extraction solvents.
I like Aromavita for its quality, strength, and value.
How to Take Oil of Oregano Safely & Effectively
While extremely safe, there are a few things to know before starting to use oil of oregano.
Who should not consume oregano essential oil:
- Heavy alcohol drinkers or those on many prescription drugs should not consume any essential oils. Dr. Ingram warns that both of those compounds tax the liver. Which in turn interferes with its ability to process herbs.
- Those with cardiac disorders. Oregano is a “positive ionotrope”, a compound that increases the heart’s pumping power.
How you use oregano oil will depend on your goal and/or condition. There are four main administration types:
- Under the tongue: always dilute in a carrier oil. Let a few drops dissolve under the tongue for rapid absorption.
- Topically: acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-pain agent (one study observed it exhibits morphine-like properties). Add a few drops to a cream, lotion, or skincare product.
- Inhalation: its volatility makes inhalation directly from the bottle possible. Great for asthma, bronchitis, or respiratory conditions.
- In food: for both flavor and medicinal benefit, oregano can be consumed internally. I use it in sauces, dressings, and sometimes add a drop or two to make oregano tea.
I prefer the wide variety of uses that I get out of the oil. But wild oregano concentrate comes in capsules and pills if you find the odor or taste undesirable.
When abused or overconsumed, it can have side effects:
- Constipation from the antimicrobial effect also killing some beneficial microbes in the gut microbiome.
- Increases blood pressure temporarily as any spice does. The effect dissipates with consistent use.
Common Oil of Oregano Questions
What is oregano oil good for?
Natural oregano oil is the most effective antibiotic known to humanity. Oregano is studied to treat, heal, and help reverse 55+ conditions. From wound healing to oral health, oil of oregano is the Swiss-army knife of natural remedies.
What does oregano oil kill?
Viruses, bacteria, funguses, and other pathogens. Oregano oil even shows promise in killing antibiotic-resistant E. coli, MRSA, salmonella, listeria, staph, pseudomonas, molds, and other super-germs.
Can I take oil of oregano daily?
For most people food grade oil of oregano is safe to take multiple times per day. Check with your doctor first, since oregano oil is highly concentrated. As a rule of thumb, essential oils that come from edible herbs and spices are also edible.
Can oregano oil burn you?
Undiluted high-quality oil of oregano will burn you. I put one drop on my tongue and the burn felt like eating a Habanero chile. While relatively benign, you can avoid the sensation by diluting oregano oil in another oil.
Oil of Oregano: Nature’s Most Powerful & Versatile Antiseptic
Here lies my favorite spice. And while the taste has grown on me, I hope you see why its an incredibly versatile tool.
If this post has piqued your interest, check our Dr. Cass Ingram’s book The Cure is in the Cupboard. I’m usually found with a bottle of oregano on me, and my notes barely scratch the surface.
It regularly saves the day. Friends with food poisoning. Spider or dog bites. Sports injuries. Montezuma’s revenge. Tick bites. Migraines. Poison oak. Or as a general beauty and health tonic.
Oil of oregano is a key ingredient in my travel arsenal.
I’m always on the search of the select few compounds that cover all bases. I’ve found oil of oregano to be exactly that.
I don’t blame you if you pooh-pooh essential oils. I did too. But maybe I’ve spared you the tongue burn. 🙂