Oregano Oil – A Bacterial Killer

by Les Moore on March 12, 2011

Be Young Oregano oil - origanum vulgare

Oregano Oil – A Bacterial Killer

Many Naturopathic and holistic doctors say that oregano is the “big gun” of essential oils when it comes to treating bacterial infections. There are arguably other oils with broader activity against more types of infections. And there are other oils that are more versatile and easier to use. But for shear antibacterial potency, nothing else compares with oregano oil.

Therapeutic grade oil of oregano is distinctly different than the variety found in the kitchen. Most oregano products are actually made from a marjoram species. True oregano comes from the Oregano vulgare species. True oregano oil contains thymol, carvacrol, rosemarinic, naringin, and various terpenes and other constituents responsible for its healing properties.

Oregano Oil Benefits

The antiseptic and antibacterial qualities of oregano are primarily due to its thymol and carvacrol content. In addition to their antibacterial properties, these two natural constituents have activity against yeast, mold, fungus and can even help support the immune system. The oil is potent against Staph, E. coli, Salmonella and many other common infection-causing bacteria.

Carvacrol contents of 70% or more can be highly therapeutic against bacterial infections. The best source of therapeutic grade oregano oil is wild crafted in Turkey. Unfortunately, naturally occurring carvacrol of high potency is hard to find in most oregano oils. Oil of oregano is almost always diluted with carrier oil, which reduces its potency and potential uses. Carvacrol may also be added to artificially increase the oils measured potency, throwing off the natural balance or “molecular fingerprint” between the other constituents.

Using Oregano Oil

Doctors who use oregano oil for infections often prescribe the oil for internal administration. This is often done using empty veggie capsules filled with the required amount of oregano plus a suitable carrier oil to aid absorption in the stomach. Although the oil is very “hot” and potentially irritating to the skin, there are reports of its successful use on the skin if properly diluted. Oregano is not commonly air diffused for therapeutic purposes due to its “hot” nature.

Safety of Oregano Oil

When it comes to serious therapeutic uses, only a high-quality oregano oil should be used. While oregano oil enjoys a long history of safe use, special precautions are needed because of its potency. There are reports of high quality oregano oil causing burns on the skin if not used responsibly. Oregano oil should be used responsibly with proper protocols and according to a qualified doctor or health care provider.

Oregano oil can reduce iron absorption, therefore, it should be used cautiously by the iron deficient, people with anemia and those who are pregnant. This oil can increase uterine blood flow and is usually avoided during pregnancy. Allergic reactions can occur with oregano oil, including rashes, skin irritation and stomach upset.