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Herbs for Health: Oregano

Updated: Jun 14

oregano health benefits

Oregano, a fragrant and flavourful herb native to the Mediterranean, not only adds a delightful taste to dishes but also offers an impressive array of health benefits. Its robust, slightly peppery flavour makes it a versatile addition to a wide range of culinary creations, from classic Italian pasta dishes and pizzas to Mediterranean-inspired salads and roasted vegetables.

"Pungent when fresh and sweeter when dried, oregano can be used to lift up almost any dish and complements other herbs well."
  • In the realm of health benefits, oregano stands out for its abundance of potent polyphenols, which contribute to its medicinal properties. One of the key polyphenols found in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which is also present in rosemary. Rosmarinic acid serves as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, aiding in neutralising harmful free radicals in the body and potentially reducing inflammation, which is often linked to chronic diseases.

  • Other bioactive compounds include: apigenin, luteolin, myricetin, quercetin, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, rosmarinic acid, carvacrol, thymol.

  • Oregano is rich in thymol and carvacrol. These compounds have been shown to possess strong antibacterial and antifungal effects, making oregano a valuable natural remedy for combating infections and supporting immune health.

  • The high concentration of polyphenols in oregano contributes to its potential as a natural preservative, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in food.

"Use oregano with a little caution compared to other herbs, too much can sometimes make the dish bitter."
 

Recipes that showcase oregano include:


  1. Greek Salad

  2. Pasta Puttanesca

  3. An oregano marinated grilled chicken 


Argentine salsa chimichurri remains a firm favourite for us.


chimichurri recipe oregano
 

As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex. Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible.

 

Beyond its culinary charm, incorporating oregano into your meals offers a wealth of health-boosting advantages. So, the next time you sprinkle oregano on your favourite dish, relish in the knowledge that you are not only enhancing its flavour but also nourishing your body with valuable polyphenols that contribute to your well-being.


Stay Healthy,


Alastair


 

More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...

 

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Related Studies

Isbill J, Kandiah J, Kružliaková N. Opportunities for Health Promotion: Highlighting Herbs and Spices to Improve Immune Support and Well-being. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020 Oct;19(5):30-42. PMID: 33488303; PMCID: PMC7815254.


Vázquez-Fresno R, Rosana ARR, Sajed T, Onookome-Okome T, Wishart NA, Wishart DS. Herbs and Spices- Biomarkers of Intake Based on Human Intervention Studies - A Systematic Review. Genes Nutr. 2019 May 22;14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12263-019-0636-8. PMID: 31143299; PMCID: PMC6532192.


Gutiérrez-Grijalva EP, Picos-Salas MA, Leyva-López N, Criollo-Mendoza MS, Vazquez-Olivo G, Heredia JB. Flavonoids and Phenolic Acids from Oregano: Occurrence, Biological Activity and Health Benefits. Plants (Basel). 2017 Dec 26;7(1):2. doi: 10.3390/plants7010002. PMID: 29278371; PMCID: PMC5874591.


Mackonochie M, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Mills S, Rolfe V. A Scoping Review of the Clinical Evidence for the Health Benefits of Culinary Doses of Herbs and Spices for the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2023 Nov 22;15(23):4867. doi: 10.3390/nu15234867. PMID: 38068725; PMCID: PMC10708057.

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