Monday, July 07, 2008

Oregano Oil: Immune Booster and More

Oregano is a well-known spice in Italian cooking. This plant is just as useful in the medicine cabinet as it is in the kitchen. Oregano extracts have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. Chronic infections, like candida, and contagious new viruses, like SARS, seem to be inhibited by oregano. Oregano not only kills infecting microbes in the respiratory tract but also acts as an expectorant (helps to expel mucus) and antispasmodic (relieves coughing). In the digestive tract oregano soothes digestion and decreases diarrhea, by stopping intestinal spasms. It also kills gastrointestinal microbes and decreases gas and bloating. Oregano can be used topically for skin infections, like athlete’s foot. Oregano may be recommended for treating colds, coughs, chronic respiratory conditions, yeast infections, viral infections, bacterial infections, diarrhea and indigestion. Oregano can be purchased as a loose herb, encapsulated herb, spice or essential oil. The loose herb can be made into a tea for topical application, inhalation or internal use. Oregano may be a part of teas for soothing digestion. The spice is often added to dishes for prevention of bacterial contamination. Oregano can be found in combination products for colds and flus, immune boosting, candidiasis and digestion. The essential oil of oregano is a highly concentrated substance. It comes in various strengths, sometimes referred to as a percentage (i.e.: P73). Stronger is not always better and if you are using oregano oil for the first time you will probably find a moderate strength preparation (40-60%) is suitable. When using essential oils topically, especially in sensitive areas, be sure to test the oil first on a small area. If necessary, dilute the oil in carrier oil, such as olive, almond or any cooking oil. When using essential oils internally keep in mind that they do not mix well in water. Essential oils are toxic when taken internally in high doses. Oil of oregano should not be used in pregnancy or lactation. After oral use of oregano probiotic supplements should be used to replace beneficial bacterial flora.

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