from NaturalNews Website
An herb whose name means ďmountain joyĒ, oregano is a savored spice widely used in Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican dishes.
But few know just how healthy this herb can be. As with many flavorful kitchen herbs, when you cook with oregano, you are getting far more than a flavorful punch - youíre also receiving a range of health and healing benefits.
And if you wanted to experience oregano benefits by growing oregano yourself, youíll be happy to know that raising this herb from a seed is fun and easy.
A woody herb related to marjoram and even called ďwild marjoramĒ in some parts of Europe, oregano is native to Northern Europe and popular in Mediterranean dishes. Itís important to note that we arenít talking about a related herb called Mexican Oregano here, though thatís a tasty one too.
This variety (Origanum vulgare) wasnít brought to the west until the 20th century.
Historically, oregano wasnít only recognized for its flavor, but was said to be a symbol of joy and happiness.
Brides and grooms of ancient Greece and Rome would wear laurels of oregano on their heads in celebration of their nuptials. Carried in satchels, it was said to attract luck, health, and positive feelings. Used as a charm, it was planted around homes to protect them from outside forces.
Medicinally, itís similarly been used for centuries. In traditional Chinese medicine and European folk medicine, itís been useful to treat and prevent a variety of ailments - ailments it can still successfully treat today.
Healing Properties - Oregano Benefits
Oregano is packed with nutrition. Itís said to be a rich source of vitamin K (important in blood and bone health) and manganese (a trace mineral important in bone, blood, and hormonal health).
Itís a good source of fiber for the amount used, and is loaded with antioxidants.
Like itís cousins of the mint family (thyme, rosemary), oregano contains phytonutrients like thymol and rosmarinic acid. These are potent antioxidants that protect the cells from oxidative stress. Per weight, oregano has been shown to have antioxidant activity 42 times more potent than apples and even 4 times more potent than blueberries.
It also has antibacterial properties. Oils in oregano like thymol and carvacrol inhibit the growth of bacteria including staphylococcus aureus.
A study from Mexico found oregano to be more successful at treating the bacterial infection Giaria lamblia than the antibiotic most commonly prescribed for the ailment. It may also combat bacteria like that of E.Coli and salmonella (food-borne pathogens).
Here are some other specific benefits of oregano and oregano oil uses.
It can be used for:
Other Oregano Health Benefits Include:
Growing Oregano - Experiencing Oregano Benefits the Fun Way
Like growing rosemary, growing oregano is a simple process for a beginner-herbalist.
You can plant it directly in the ground, but it can spread significantly. Many people use it for ground-cover for this reason. If you donít want oregano to take over your herb garden, consider putting it in a pot instead. Choose a pot that is at least 10 inches and has holes in the bottom for drainage.
Oregano loves the sun, but if you live in a hot area (Zone 7 and south), youíll want to put it somewhere that it can get a little afternoon shade on the hottest summer days. Water only as needed and donít worry about fertilizing oregano. It isnít too picky when it comes to soil nutrients.
To harvest oregano, wait until the plant is about 4 inches high, cutting the stems all the way down to the ground as needed. This will encourage more growth. To strip the woody stems of the valuable leaves, hold it by the top and run your fingers down the stem, knocking the little, slightly-fuzzy leaves off as you go.
And thatís basically it! Growing oregano is as easy as planting the seeds in a pot able to drain, exposing it to sun and afternoon shade, and watering occasionally.
Perhaps the easiest way to experience oreganoís benefits is by cooking with it.
Use it in Italian or Mexican dishes, soups, and casseroles. But when you donít want to eat a meal to get your oregano benefits, make a quick tea. Simply use 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, add the oregano, and let steep for 5 minutes or so.
Finally, if you really want to get crafty and have medicinal oregano on hand at any time, make your own oregano oil. This isnít like an oregano essential oil, but will give you the benefits of the oils in a slightly diluted form.
Oregano oil benefits can be very powerful.
How to Make Your Own Oregano Oil
Oregano is a flavorful and powerful herb to have in your home arsenal. In addition to providing a wealth of healing benefits, you may findĖlike the ancientsĖ the herb just brings you joy. Experience oregano benefits today.