Oregano essential oil uses and its benefits

Oregano essential oil

 Know in one minute about Oregano essential oil

Oregano essential oil uses and benefits are mainly because of compounds Carvacrol and thymol. This oil is good in its antimicrobial properties but precaution should be taken in using the oil during pregnancy and lactation.

Health benefits of Oregano essential oil

1.     Improves digestion and treats gastrointestinal inflammation

2.     Treats Urinary tract infections

3.     Antimicrobial property and prevents the food from decaying.

4.     Antiinflammatory and antiviral properties.


Oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare; Family- Lamiaceae) extracted by steam distillation from the leaves, flower, and shoots of the oregano plant. There are over 40 species of oregano, but the essential oil produced from Origanum vulgare is considered to be the most therapeutically beneficial. The oil of oregano is clear greenish-yellow to brown liquid with a characteristic odor. Origanum oil possesses various therapeutic properties such as carminative, stomachic, diuretic, and emmenagogue. This oil also being used in chronic rheumatism, toothache, earache, veterinary liniments and also stimulates the growth of hair. In homeopathy, it has been used for hysteric conditions. It is also being used in healing lotions for wounds along with other herbs as an external application (1).


Origanum species have been cultivated in Egypt for over 3000 years; the ancient Greeks used it since classical times and have been grown in England since the 13th century. Some of the earliest records of Origanum use dated back to 1600-1200 B.C.

Geographical distribution

Oregano is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region, Southern and Central Asia and North Africa.

Constitutes of oregano essential oil

The main component of this oil is Carvacrol, thymol, γ -terpinene, and linalool are known to possess strong antioxidant properties. Carvacrol and thymol, constitute about 78–85% of oregano essential oil and responsible for the antimicrobial activity and other minor constituents as follows (2).

Nutrients Percentage
Oxygenated monoterpenes 53.8 %
Carvacrol 14.5 %
Thymol 12.6 %
β-fenchyl alcohol 12.8 %
δ-terpineol 7.5 %
Monoterpene hydrocarbons 26.4 %
γ -terpinene 11.6 %
α-terpinene 3.7 %
1-methyl-3-(1-methylethyl)-benzene 6.8 %
Thymol 12.6
p-cymene 5.21 %
Borneol 1.3%

Oregano essential oil uses and its benefits

Some of the oregano essential oil uses and benefits are as follows due to its compounds like Terpineol, carvacrol, and thymol.

1. Improve digestion

Oregano essential oil alone or in combination with others shows a wonderful effect on the prevention of many types of food spoilage and microbial growth. Thus may be useful as a food preservative and better for gastrointestinal health (3). Studies suggest that 600 mg oil for 6 weeks shows 77% recovery in humans with gut symptoms (4).

2. Treat gastrointestinal inflammations

Oregano essential oil with thyme oil reduces the production of proinflammatory cytokines and attenuates the degree of colonic tissue injury. Therefore useful for the treatment of gastrointestinal inflammations (5).

3. Insecticidal properties

Oregano essential oil (40 %) is very beneficial to repellent 100 % bed bug (Cimex lectularius) than other commercial insect repellent stick. As it contains terpineol and α–terpinene which has antiseptic and insect repellent properties (6).

4. Treat candidiasis

Terpineol, carvacrol, and thymol found in oregano essential oil inhibit the growth of C. albicans parapsilosisC. kruseiC. lusitaniaeand C. dubliniensis. Thus this oil is a natural antifungal agent that is helpful for the treatment of candidiasis and oral cavity (7,8).

5. Treat Urinary tract infections

Carvacrol and thymol obtained from oregano oil are useful to prevent biofilm formation by these bacteria and reduce its virulence capability (infection) (9).

6. Helps in losing weight

The presence of carvacrol in oregano oil prevents obesity. Moreover, carvacrol inhibits bad protein formation and reverses the chain of events which is responsible for fat cell formation (10).

7. Antimicrobial properties of Oregano essential oil

Carvacrol, p-cymene, Thymol, Cymenol, α-Pinene, and γ-terpinene inhibits the growth of multidrug-resistant microorganisms (11). This oil prevents food decay by stoping mycelial growth (12, 13). Moreover, this oil in combination with lactic acid/ acetic acid inhibits Staphylococcus aureus growth that causes food poisoning (14,15).

8. Treat wound

Carvacrol of oregano essential oil which possesses antimicrobial properties against Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureusthus treat burn and wound infection (16).

9. Treat depression

Thymol, gamma-terpinene, borneol, cymene, carvacrol, alfa-terpinene, and sabinene inhibit stress-induced depressive-like behavior and neuroinflammation. Thus this oil is beneficial to treat anxiety and depression (17).

10. Anticancer properties

Presence of carvacrol, thymol, citral, and limonene in oregano oil act as a cytotoxic agent that inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis thus protect from cancer hepatocarcinoma (18).

11. Anti-inflammatory properties

Carvacrol present in oregano essential oil shows a wonderful effect on the healing of gastric lesions after 14 days of treatment. Therefore this oil may help to reduce swelling formation (19).

12. Antiviral properties

Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are one type of viral infection that causes acute gastroenteritis. Oregano oil and its active component, carvacrol show a wonderful effect on the reduction of this virus within 1 hour of exposure as a natural food and surface (fomite) sanitizer (20).

Side effect of oregano oil

According to U. S. Food and Drug Administration oregano oil is “generally well tolerated and recognized as safe” (GRAS) as food ingredients. But there is some precaution you should keep in mind before use of this oil or consult your doctor prior to use

1. Gastrointestinal upset

Consumption or application of oregano oil in a high amount sometimes causes gastrointestinal upset and allergic skin reactions therefore precaution should be needed (21).

2. Oregano oil may cause miscarriage

Avoid this oil during pregnancy and lactation. It may cause severe morbidity and mortality therefore oregano in amounts higher than those found in foods as a flavoring should probably be avoided during breastfeeding (22).