Illness and infection are not new concepts and are the result of imbalances in the human body. Things like the common cold, allergies, bacterial/viral infections, and parasitic infections have plagued human populations time and time again. For the thousands of years that illness and infection have been around, there have been herbal remedies and cures for them, and while there is a time and place for Western medicine and Western medications, their precursors are as effective today as they were three thousand years ago. One such herbal remedy is oregano oil.
Oregano Oil Benefits
Oregano is not just a delicious herb (and member of the mint family), but a source of great healing potential when used in concentrated form, as an oil. Oregano oil is derived from both the leaves and flowers of Origanum vulgare, and because it is highly concentrated, it is important to use under proper direction. Most treatments involve diluting the oil in water or even in another oil (like coconut) because it is quite strong, and like garlic, can irritate or even burn your skin. Please note also that oregano oil is most potent and beneficial when it comes from organic oregano of the variety mentioned in this paragraph.
Oregano Oil Uses
When used under proper direction (including method, form, and dosage), oregano oil has a myriad of health benefits, especially for the respiratory and digestive systems, and your skin. We will focus a bit more on the respiratory system, but it is important to note that you should not use oregano as treatment if you are allergic to it, whether as an oil or in its natural form. If eating any form of oregano gives you discomfort, using it as a treatment will be counterproductive. If application of diluted oregano oil on the skin causes irritation, you likely have an allergy. It is always best to discuss any kind of treatment with your own doctor because he or she knows you best.
Many respiratory ailments present themselves as some form of congestion, whether you have a cold, allergies, or a sinus infection. You can have difficulty breathing, a sore throat, or irritated nasal passages, and there are any number of things that can cause each of these symptoms, from pollen and dust to chemicals, bacteria, and even fungus. Now, don’t panic. This is par for the course as far as what your lungs handle on a daily basis, but all of these foreign particles can cause the release of histamine, which can cause congestion, mucus and fluid accumulation, inflammation, and irritation. Now, this is where oregano comes in.
Oregano oil is naturally rich in phenols, which have beneficial antioxidant effects, including carvacrol which helps combat certain bacterial infections, and thymol, a natural fungicide. Terpenes also have strong antibacterial properties. Rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant found in oregano oil, is a natural antihistamine, and to round out the benefits of this remarkable oil we have beta-caryophyllin, a natural anti-inflammatory.
You can put a few drops of oregano oil in hot water, then inhale the steam, or even ingest diluted oregano oil. Doing so will not only help alleviate the respiratory symptoms associated with allergies and colds, but can accelerate recovery from other illness. There are some internet resources that will delineate the form and dosage of oregano oil for treatments of various conditions (and sometimes you’ll find it on the bottle). However, each individual is different, even if the condition is the same, and sometimes the condition may not be what you think it is. Make sure you get a proper diagnosis before engaging in any form of treatment.
Food poisoning, bacterial infections, and parasitic infections can cause extreme discomfort and illness. Many food related illnesses are caused by bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. Oregano oil’s antimicrobial and antiseptic properties can alleviate much of the discomfort by battling the infection and killing the harmful bacteria.
Please note that when ingesting oregano oil (even diluted), it kills both good and bad bacteria in the intestines. Your digestive system maintains its own balance of bacteria in a symbiotic relationship. Killing the good bacteria can harm the digestive process, so you cannot overdo it with the oregano oil. It should not be taken consecutively for more than 2-3 weeks at a time, and it is beneficial to supplement with some form of probiotic while ingesting oregano oil.
There are any number of other conditions that are treatable with oregano oil. Did you know that you could take care of that pesky foot or nail fungus? You can put a few teaspoons of oregano oil in a footbath and soak your feet in it. You can also dilute it with coconut oil and essentially use it as a lotion in the affected areas of the skin.
In much the same manner as the above, you can also use oregano oil to aid in the healing of cold sores, treat dandruff, and even help with skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
Diluted oregano oil can relieve bug bites and rashes, and even repel insects entirely. The carvacrol we mentioned previously acts as a natural insect repellent, and you need not only put it on your skin. A few drops on your patio furniture will keep the insects at bay when you entertain or relax outdoors.
As with any treatment, natural or otherwise, it is important to discuss your condition with your doctor. Even an herbalist may not recommend oregano oil to treat one of the conditions mentioned above, and the particulars of any diagnosis can make a big difference in how effective a treatment is. This is particularly true for any herbal remedies being given to infants/children, or pregnant or nursing women as there are many other variables to take into consideration. Herbal remedies have tremendous healing potential, when prescribed and used properly.
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