The natural spices that we use in the kitchen are, in fact, herbal medicines. Several spices including garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves are actually Ayurvedic herbs with potency to cure and heal several ailments.
One such herb which we use for seasoning our pizza, and for improving flavor of food, is oregano. Most of the time, we overlook the numerous benefits offered by this wonderful herb. It has the potency to cure several ailments, apart from improving appetite and helping with digestion.
Oregano belongs to the mint family, and apart from its use for culinary purposes, it offers great medicinal value, particularly its oil. Also known as the “mountain joy”, this popular herb is much used in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines.
Oregano leaves are a good source of iron, manganese, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, it is a general immune booster.
The Thymol and Carvacol compounds in oregano help in digestion and treats stomach upsets. For quick relief from stomach upset, add 2-3 drops of oregano oil to a glass of water and drink. Oregano tea instantly cures indigestion, flatulence and bloating. For abdominal pain, a good massage with oregano oil may help.
Unsweetened Oregano tea is also used as mouthwash, while chewing few leaves of Oregano thrice a day, can help in relief from menstrual cramps.
Due to the presence of phenolic acids and flavonoids, oregano is high in antioxidant properties. Therefore, it prevents formation of free radicals in the body, which could otherwise lead to ageing of body cells.
Bronchial problems, including cold, sinusitis and lung congestion can be treated with oregano oil. Just add a few drops of oregano oil to a glass of water and drink 3-4 times a day.
The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of Oregano make it a good remedy for treating skin infections. The Journal of Applied Nutrition says that Oil or Oregano is effective against Candida. Researchers in Mexico said that it possesses strong anti-parasitic actions, particularly against Giardia.
The paste made from the plant leaves can be applied topically for pain relief from itching, rheumatism, sores, swelling and muscle aches (put a handful of leaves in a coffee filter or cheesecloth and run steam bath over it, and relaxing in this water will instantly soothe tired muscles).
Oil of Oregano is an effective pain killer too. An article in the Physiotherapy Research, said that oregano oil surpassed anti-inflammatory drugs in reversing inflammation and pain.
Genuine Oregano Oil helps in treating nervous tension, tooth ache, diarrhea, nervous tension, earache, coughs, bronchitis, insect bites and toothache.
Moreover, the University of Arizona, in their latest study, revealed that oil of oregano is effective in preventing cancer. They revealed that a particular phenol called caryacrol, present in oregano oil, exhibits powerful antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities, and prevents nearly 78 percent of cancer-causing molecules that usually come about when meat is cooked at high temperatures.
Therefore, making this wonder herb a part of daily diet will, help in improving overall nutritional value of the meal, apart from adding flavor and fragrance to the food.