Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, is a small, bushy plant that belongs to the mint family. It is a familiar culinary herb in Italian dishes.
Oregano oil contains high levels of important compounds in its leaves and smaller stems. Oil manufacturers dry the leaves and stems, then steam-distill the plant matter to extract as many compounds as possible.
Oregano oil is higher in antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables, and is packed full of powerful compounds called phenols. Oregano oil may be effective against bacterial and fungal infections, inflammation and pain, among other conditions
Oregano oil contains:
- carvacrol, the main active compound in oregano oil and a type of antioxidant called a phenol
- thymol, which may help protect against toxins and fight fungal infections
- Fighting bacteria: Thanks to the high levels of carvacrol, oregano oil may help fight certain types of bacteria.
- Treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): Oregano oil may help treat chronic bacterial issues, such as SIBO. People with SIBO experience gastrointestinal problems due to an overgrowth of certain bacteria in their intestines.
- Treating fungal infections: Oregano oil also appears to be a potent antifungal agent thanks to high levels of thymol.
- Providing antioxidants: Oregano oil is also a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals.
- Reducing inflammation: Some sources claim that oregano oil may help reduce inflammation. The compound carvacrol shows anti-inflammatory effects in both animal models and in vitro studies.