Updated: Jun 21
When we think of essential oils, we often don’t think of the herbs of essential oils. Oregano Origanum vulgare essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and leaves of the plant and used to treat colds/flu, inflammation, yeast infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, allergies, painful menstrual cycles, parasites, respiratory problems and pain. It’s also a powerful microbial.
Often people confuse Oregano oil with Oregano essential oil. Oregano oil is a base oil that has been infused with Oregano and is gentle. Oregano essential oil comes with a host of safety concerns. But when used wisely, it is a great essential oil to have on hand.
Oregano essential oil is from the Phenols chemical family. Phenols are one of two (Aldehydes) chemical families in essential oils that come with safety concerns. They are some of the strongest microbial oils. The concern with Oregano oil is with the two of the constituents (components) with the chemical family, thymol and carvacrol (the majority) making up about 65% of the oils makeup. (1)
But with a few safety steps we will outline as we go along, you can reap the benefits without the safety issues being a concern.
1. Treat Skin Infections
Oregano essential oil has shown anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, tissue remodeling and immunomodulatory properties which makes Oregano a great oil for your skin; when used properly. The study concluded the following: “We suggest that OEO, with carvacrol as the major active component, is a promising candidate for use in skin care products with anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties”. (2)
Oregano comes with some concerns and with oils that come with concerns, we approach them with caution so we can enjoy them without the possibility of creating irritation and in turn, cause sensitization to the oil. There are three main factors that will determine skin reactivity and no matter the type of reaction, they will all involve the following three:
Dose metrics (quantity and concentration of the substance)
Dose of percutaneous (skin) absorption of the substance
Degree of reaction between the substance and the immune system. (3)
With Oregano, for normal adult skin, Robert Tisserand recommends a topical maximum of 1.1% or approximately 10 drops per ounce of carrier. This is for healthy adult skin.
The susceptibility of the individual is also taken into consideration. Also consider the following:
Hazards: (Internally) there are concerns for drug interactions; inhibits blood clotting, embryotoxicity. Topically the concerns are with skin irritation (low risk); mucous membrane irritation (moderate risk).
Contraindications all routes for those that are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
Topically Tisserand cautions using on hypersensitive skin, diseased or damaged skin and on children under the age of 2 years old.
Cautions orally include those that are on diabetic medication, anticoagulant medications, recently had major surgery, peptic ulcers, hemophilia or any other bleeding disorders. (page 376-Tisserand)
Keeping safety in mind, Oregano is wonderful in blends to treat skin irritations. Using Oregano, we can create a healing oil for Psoriasis, eczema, acne, pimples and other skin irritations and inflammation.
1-ounce carrier oil (*see below)
2 drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
6 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
4 drops Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara
8 drops Sandalwood Santelum album
Along with the Oregano, we’ve used gentle essential oils. When using essential oils that may be irritants, blending with skin friendly oils reduces the possibility of a reaction to the blend. If pregnant, caution with Neroli.
*Two considerations of carriers for this recipe could be Apricot Kernel CP (cold pressed) which is wonderful on prematurely aging skin, sensitive and inflamed and it absorbs easily into the skin or Carrot seed oil. Carrot seed is great for premature aging, itching, burning, dryness, psoriasis, eczema, rejuvenates the skin, reduces scars.
2. Improve Mouth and Digestive Health
Because of its irritating properties and safety concerns, I don’t recommend Oregano essential oil for oral use, unless under the advisement of a Clinical Aromatherapist trained in internal use. However, Oregano oil, much gentler than essential oil, is a great alternative for oral and internal use. It carries the same properties, and although not as potent, it is still every effective. It does not come with the same risks as the essential oil which allows you to repeatedly use it over a longer period of time to ease symptoms without the same safety concerns.
There are several methods of using Oregano herb that is quite effective in addressing digestive issues. You can infuse 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried Oregano herb in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drinking a cup before, during and after your meal is soothing and relieves various digestive issues. You can also do a fluid extract which can be made by combining one-part herb with one-part fluid. For example, you would use 250 grams of herb to 250 ml of a high-grade alcohol (Not rubbing alcohol). The ratio of herbs can very from 3(fluid):1(herb) to 8:1. What ratio you choose depends on the herb and the potency you are going for. (4)
One great use for the infusions and extracts is for Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a type of yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults. (5)
If you so choose to use Oregano essential oil, repeated uses orally or internally should not exceed 7-10 days due to the concern for possible hepato-toxicity. (6)
3. Relieve Sore Muscles
Oregano essential oil is relaxing to the muscles, it helps ease rheumatoid arthritis, and eases aches and pains of daily use of muscles. The following blend is great to have on hand after a hard workout. We’ve kept out Oregano at a very safe low dilution so we can reap the benefits and stay safe. Please keep in mind previously mentioned safety concerns when using Oregano essential oil. Oregano is not for those pregnant, nursing, babies, small children and those with sensitive skin. Do a small skin patch test prior to using Oregano essential oil. After diluting, apply a small amount to your wrist where the skin is thin. Wait 10 minutes. If no reaction, you should be able to safely use your blend.
Muscle Aches and Pains
One-Ounce Arnica Infused Oil (or other carrier)
2 drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
5 drops Engleman Spruce Picea engelmanii
5 drops Siberian Fir Abies sibirica
5 drops Hemp Sativa
Using a carrier that is also great on sore muscles gives us extra healing power. It also adds another layer of protection to the skin when it is a skin healing carrier oil. For this, I recommend Arnica. Arnica Infused Oil is often applied externally on unbroken skin or to treat sore muscles and joints as well as bruising and sprains and strains. Try making a salve for arthritic conditions with the oils above. Arnica is a rubefacient meaning it does its work by bringing more blood to the injured area causing a slight irritation. To learn how to make a salve, check out my YouTube video.
*Stretching cold muscles before a workout is not always best. Stretching after a workout will help keep muscles pliable and lessen the discomfort after an intense workout. After a good stretch and warm shower when our skin is more receptive, apply your blend*
4. Relieve Joint Pain
As with muscle pain, Oregano is excellent in easing joint pain. Using the previously mentioned carrier oil will be most effective. Try the following blend to use achy joints.
1-ounce Arnica infused oil (see above)
2 drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
7 drops Plai Zingiber cassumunar
7 drops Engleman spruce
2 drops b-Caryophellane constituent (can be purchased at https://desrosiersintl.com/)
Apply 3-4 times a day, especially after showering when the skin is clean and warm and most receptive.
5. Treat Athlete’s Foot
Oregano is a fungicidal and blended with other oils with similar properties, can help to combat athlete’s foot. Try the following:
*1-ounce Tamanu oil
2 drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
5 drops Geranium Pelargonium odorantissimum
5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
5 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
*Tamanu Oil is a great antifungal carrier oil. It also treats scars, stretch marks (fades stretch marks with great results), minor wounds, skin irritations, rashes, bedsores and many other skin concerns. Tamanu promotes new tissue formation, accelerating healing and healthy skin growth, is an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-bacterial.
6. Get Rid of Nail Fungus
Following the previous recipe, apply 3-4 times a day for at least 7-10 days. Avoid nail polish as it blocks moisture and creates the perfect setting for nail fungal infections.
7. Cure Ringworm
Ringworm of the body is a fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin. Unfortunately, it is highly contagious and can easily pass to others. You’ll develop round itchy, scaly, red patches. Ringworm is simply a fungal infection. Athlete’s foot is ringworm of the feet. If it spreads to your groin area, it is referred to as jock itch. Follow the previous blend and avoid contact with others until it has cleared.
*Do not use oregano oil within 2 weeks of a scheduled surgery*
8. Remove Warts
Oregano essential oil has been noted to be effective on warts. Blend 1 drop of oregano essential oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier and apply 3-4 times a day. It’s best to soak, cleanse and dry thoroughly before applying. Depriving the wart of oxygen will eradicate it more quickly. Be sure NOT to get the essential oil on the surrounding skin.
9. Get Rid of Parasites
Oregano essential oil is an anti-parasitic. Following the recommendations outlined in our section on mouth and digestive health, may help rid the body of parasites.
10. Treating Head Lice
Seems like every young mother gets to face their children bringing home head lice. There are several steps we can do to help prevent the passing of head lice. For little girls, keeping their hair in braids or up in a pony tail helps. As a young mother of three daughters, I found using hair spray on my daughters’ hair helped to keep them from attaching to the hair follicles. To treat head lice, try the following blend outline by Dr. Valnet. (7)
3-ounce salve base (see my video)
15 drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
15 drop Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
15 drops Thyme Thyme ct. linalool
15 drops Geranium Pelargonium odorantissimum
11. Relieve Sinus Congestion from Colds
Oregano helps to relieve symptoms from colds and flu.
Cough, Cold and Congestion Blend
2 ounces unscented cream
2 Drops Oregano Origanum vulgare
5 Drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana
5Drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
5 Drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
5 Drops Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis ct. 1,8 cineole
Apply to chest and neck, especially at night.
*Talk to your healthcare provider if you are being treated for diabetes or have a bleeding disorder prior to using oregano oil *
12. Treat Respiratory Infections
Because of Oreganos’ powerful actions on bronchitis and whooping cough, it’s great in blends to ease the congestion and open airways. Try the following.
1-ounce unscented lotion or cream
2 drops of Oregano Origanum vulgare
8 drops Ravintsara Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole
6 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus
4 drops Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis ct. 1,8 cineole
This is for adult use only. Apply to chest and neck area 3-4 times a day, especially before bed.
13. Nervous disorders
Many are unaware of the effects of Oregano on the nervous system. Oregano herb can be used to make a very stimulating nerve tonic. It eases noises in ears, migraines, facial tics, has a profound effect on psychopathic conditions. Oregano offers a feeling of well-being. (8)
14. Treating Genito-Urinary Issues
During that time of the month, cramps can be very painful. Oregano essential oils assists with easing cramps. Whether this is due to the actions of a diuretic is still unknown. But much relief can be achieved with Oregano. Try applying the following blend to your lower abdominal area and lower back to combat menstrual aches and pains.
Menstrual Spasmodic Pain
*1-ounce Kpangnan carrier oil
2 drops Oregano Origanum Vulgare
3 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
3 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita
3 drops Nutmeg Mystistica fragrans
3 drops Cypress Cupressus semperviren
*Kpangnan (pronounced Pawnya) has a slight warming effect on the skin. Studies have found that Kpangnan contains a high amount of stigmasterol, an unsaturated plant sterol that contains anti- inflammatory and pain-relieving agents. Organic and unrefined will give you the best butter for skin preparations. As soon as it is refined it changes its wonderful skin healing properties. The butter should be hard and yellow.
Was this list helpful to you? I was amazed when I found out about all of the awesome uses of oregano essential oil. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks and Romans used it extensively. It is now being explored scientifically in controlled clinical studies to determine exactly how effective it really is and how it should be used. I am always glad to read about natural, safe and effective alternatives to modern medicines.
Please leave a comment to let me know if this list helped and tell me about your own personal experiences with oregano essential oil. We can all contribute to a more complete list of its benefits. Be sure to share, too, so that others can learn about all of this oil’s natural benefits.
Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2007) Essential oil safety; A guide for health care professionals (2 Nd Ed.). NY: Churchill Livingston; Oregano; pgs. 375-376
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29450144 Anti-inflammatory, tissue remodeling, immunomodulatory, and anticancer activities
Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2007) Essential oil safety; A guide for health care professionals (2 Nd Ed.). NY: Churchill Livingston; The Skin, Types of Reaction; Pg.; 70
Dr. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy; Oregano; pgs. 145-147
Sheppard-Hanger, Sylla; The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual; The Aromatherapy Chart, Oregano; pg. 329
Dr. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy; Oregano; pgs. 147
Sheppard-Hanger, Sylla; The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual; The Aromatherapy Chart, Oregano; Nervous Brain/Mind pg. 329