Oil of Oregano, not to be confused with the spice Oregano, is an effective immune booster with some surprising health benefits for protection against the flu or the common cold. Reduced cold and flu symptoms, strengthened immune system and improved digestion, sinus and respiratory health and reduction in joint and muscle pains are among the many benefits of Oil of Oregano supplementation.
We have all been fighting colds and sore throats here, and throughout Toronto most likely. The spring of 2012 has been a notably bad cold & flu season, almost as bad as last year.
One of more of us in my family has had cold symptoms off and on now, for weeks. First one of us gets sick and nearly get well, then another of us comes down with the same symptoms. We seem to keep infecting each other, despite out best moves to prevent this contagion from spreading.
While not epidemic, it has been persistent and lingering. Our repeated bouts of colds and cold-like symptoms has been so bad that my wife decided to try alternative medicine, which includes Oil of Oregano. Origanum Vulgare, -perhaps named correctly for the taste; vulgar. But is Oil of Oregano effective? Quite possibly so!
Oil of Oregano's Impressive Hit List of Health Benefits
Oil of Oregano is credited to provide the following benefits: fighting the virus that causes colds and flu, effective at killing bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungus.
Taken internally either via eye-dropper (3 drops taken once daily is the usual recommended dosage) and allowed to sit under the tongue or diluted in a glass of water or juice, Oil of Oregano reduces sore throat symptoms within mere hours.
Health Foods and Alternative Medicine proponents of Oil of Oregano maintain that its use strengthens the immune system, shortens the duration and severity of most common colds, aids respiratory health (loosens phlegm, relaxes constricted bronchial passages, etc.) and further is cited to improve joint and muscle flexibility.
Oil of Oregano is well-known for its ability to aid digestion problems and settle upset stomach complaints. Notably for us, taken at the first signs of cold symptoms can reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms. It almost makes the vulgar turpentine-esque taste worth the pain!
To avoid the admittedly nasty taste, Oil of Oregano can also be taken mixed with juice, or in convenient capsule form, -available at any health foods/naturopathic store.
What Makes Oil of Oregano so Effective?
(image by author)
The effective strength of carvacrol (minimum strength: 70% or higher) in Oil or Oregano is repeatedly cited in health literature to have to be the most effective. The commercial preparation we are using is listed to be 80-85% carvacrol, and higher percent concentrations into the lower-to-mid 90 percentiles are available.
Components in Oil of Oregano that provide the medicinal benefits are the phenols "carvacrol" and "thymol." Other naturally-occurring ingredients called "terpines" (pinene and terpinene) and several long-chain alcohols called "linalool" and "bonreol" contribute to the antiseptic properties.
Esters found in Oil of Oregano include "linalyl acetate" and "geranyl acetate," which act as potent anti-fungals.
Differentials of Oil of Oregano Use for Cold or Flu Symptoms
Oil of Oregano should not be taken if you are taking prescribed iron supplements as Oil of Oregano reduces the body's uptake of iron.
Pregnant women should not use Oil or Oregano either for the same reason, and that the stimulated blood flow it can cause might weaken the lining of the womb and potentially cause complications with the pregnancy.
People with allergies to members of the mint/sage family should avoid Oil of Oregano and it can trigger allergic reactions, symptoms which include itching, rashes and vomiting.
If you are under a doctor's care and receiving any medications such as iron supplementation, or blood thinner/anti-coagulants, discuss with your doctor the use or desire to use Oil of Oregano and follow any instructions s/he may prescribe.