Wellness Encyclopedia: Oil of Oregano

Learn more about this magical substance, used for thousands of years to ward off illness, boost immunity, and promote healing from the inside out (and outside in)…

I first learned of oil of oregano through FP Carrie. As soon as cold weather would hit, a little vial of this herbaceous oil would appear in her hand, where it would comfortably stay on through ‘till spring. Noticeably absent? Anything resembling a cough or cold. While I came down with every illness imaginable, her seemingly iron-clad immunity stayed strong as ever, all thanks to this magic potion of hers. But while its spicy taste and fragrant smell may feel exotic and new, oil of oregano has been used for thousands of years to ward off illness, boost immunity, and promote healing from the inside out (and outside in). A sucker for anything that promises immunity — let alone delivers on said promises — I had to see for myself, and ever since, this golden-hued oil has found its home in my medicine cabinet, ready to battle cold and cough, act as a cleanser for my home, and to lend it’s gorgeous fragrance to the air. Today I’m diving into what makes this pretty little oil so special, and the myriad of uses it has. Learn more below… and then please be sure to share your own tried and true methods for staying happy and healthy throughout the cold winter months.


What is it? Oil of oregano is — big surprise — the oil extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant, a flowering herb belonging to the mint family. Though it’s native to Europe and the Mediterranean, oregano grows all over the world and has been prized since ancient times for its use in cooking as well as healing practices. Boasting delicate purple flowers when in bloom and smallish round leaves, oregano may be used fresh or dried, or distilled to extract its golden-hued oil. Oil of oregano smells just as spicy as the fresh plant, and should always be of the highest quality to ensure purity.


What are the benefits? A symbol of happiness to ancient Greeks and Romans, there’s a lot to love about oil of oregano! The primary source of oregano oil’s awesomeness can be attributed to its potent levels of antioxidant phenols, which include antibacterial terpenes, naturally fungicidal thymol, bacteria-killing carvacrol, and inflammation-destroying E-BCP. These phenols come together to create one powerful oil, which can be used for all the treatments listed below. Along with antioxidants, oil of oregano oil also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and iron.


How do I use it? Always look for the highest quality oil of oregano on the market — this ensures purity, potency and effectiveness. Understandably, the best of the best comes from wild oregano grown and distilled in the Mediterranean. Oil of oregano is potent, which means you should always consult a naturopathic doctor before beginning use, and always dilute with water or a carrier oil (about 1 part oregano oil to three parts oil or water), such as coconut oil or olive oil. Oregano oil may be taken internally or used topically, a few of my favorite uses include…

To help prevent colds and flu: Place a drop or two of diluted oil of oregano beneath the tongue a few times per day during cold season to ward off any office sicknesses. This method has also been shown to relieve other infections, including urinary tract infections, food poisoning, and even drug-resistant yeast infections.  

To treat acne, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy and nail fungus: Apply diluted oregano oil directly to affected area once or twice per day until symptoms subside. The oil not only promotes healing but eases redness, too.

To ease congestion: Place a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of hot water. Hold your face a comfortable and safe distance from the hot steam and breathe it in. Repeat as needed. You can also create a sore throat gargle by adding a couple drops of oregano oil to warm water.

As a natural household cleaner: Add a few drops of oregano oil to warm soapy water as a natural disinfectant. Check out more natural cleaning tips here!

To treat foot fungus: Create a foot soak by adding several drops of oregano oil to a tub of hot water. Soak bare feet for 20 minutes once a day. Boost those healing properties even more by adding a healthy scoop of epsom salt!

Aromatherapy: Add oregano oil to your aromatherapy diffuser to refresh the air in your home.

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  1. I use this daily. It’s effective but absolutely disgusting even in small doses. You think to yourself, “Oh smells like pizza!” Then, you put it under your tongue which sort of feels like a pizza punching you in the face. To combat this, I put two drops under my tongue then instantly down it with a giant glass of water. I then follow that up with mouth wash.

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