Oregano, The Ancient Antibiotic
For over 2,000 years of man's history, the ancient herb Oregano has been used by healers world wide to treat a wide variety of ailments, and to strengthen man's ability to fight off illness. It has powerful bacteria and fungi killing properties, as well as being used as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory.
The ancient Greeks were among the first to take advantage of oregano's medicinal qualities. The Greeks termed the spice origanos, meaning "delight of the mountains". Those who have visited Greece, where oregano covers the hillsides and scents the summer air, would probably agree with this name. The sweet, spicy scent of Oregano was reputedly created by the Goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. Bridal couples were crowned with garlands of oregano, and the plants were placed on the tombs to give peace to departed spirits.
Oregano is one of the most diverse health aides available. Researchers have uncovered numerous benefits to using oregano and extracted oil of oregano. But buyer beware, these significant health benefits are unattainable if the oregano is not the true substance. Although there are a wide variety of plants that are confused with oregano (including marjoram, thyme and sage), true oregano grows wild in Mediterranean regions such as Greece. The wild oregano is the source of surprisingly potent oil of oregano.
True oil of oregano offers many exciting remedies to a variety of ailments. In Herbal Renaissance, Steven Foster credits oregano as having "been employed to treat indigestion, diarrhea, nervous tension, insect bites, toothache, earache rheumatism, and coughs due to whooping cough and bronchitis (primarily for it's antispasmodic effects)."
In The Cure is in the Cupboard, Cass Ingram, D.O., has written a book that is dedicated to unveiling the health benefits of oregano and oil of oregano. He notes that "wild oregano is a veritable a natural mineral treasure-house, containing a density of minerals that would rival virtually any food."
The wild oregano is rich in a long list of minerals that includes calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, and manganese. Vitamins C and A (beta carotene) and niacin also are contained in oregano. Judging from its mineral content alone, it isn't hard to figure out why oregano is such a valuable commodity. Consider some of oregano's other useful purposes and it becomes even more obvious.
"Oregano is one of Nature's finest preservatives." states Ingram in another book, Supermarket Remedies. The author suggests that if oregano is used with foods such as meat, eggs, milk, or salad, you "will greatly halt the growth of microbes and, thus, reduce the risk for food poisoning."
The key element in oregano is the oil, which Foster points out "contains carvacrol and thymol as the primary components." Foster attributes the "fungicidal and worm-expellant properties" of oil of oregano to carvacrol and thymol. "These two phenols may constitute as much as 90% of (the oil)."
However, Ingram adds that these two phenols work synergistically and that is the reason "oil of oregano packs a double punch in antiseptic power and explains why it is infinitely more potent than commercial phenol in microbial killing power."
All of this helps make oregano oil a significant factor in treating internal and external fungi including athletes foot. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can be improved with the treatment as well. Ingram explains the astonishing discovery that "oil of oregano outright destroys all variety of fungi and yeasts, regardless of where they reside."
In addition to fighting various fungi, oil of oregano is useful against bacteria and parasites. As Ingram asserts, "oil of oregano's antiseptic powers are immense...it inhibits the growth of the majority of bacteria, something that prescription antibiotics fail to accomplish." In the case of parasites, oil of oregano has had success neutralizing worms, amoebae and protozoans.
Additional uses for oregano and oil of oregano are unlimited. They have been found helpful in combating diarrhea, intestinal gas, and digestive problems, as well as sore throat and breathing difficulties. Oil of oregano can be immediate help against bee stings and many venomous bites until medical attention can be reached. Oil of oregano has even been suggested as a treatment for dandruff, diaper rash, and other skin disorders.
The benefits of oregano have gone largely unnoticed and under publicized for far too long. As Ingram notes, oregano is "one of the world's finest natural medicines, that is if it's true oregano." So while oregano may hold the answer for a number of your health questions, be sure that it is in fact the real thing. Remember, these remedies are only attributed to genuine oregano and oil of oregano. Nonetheless, their values are much too important to overlook. Oregano may just be the thing you are searching for, or maybe didn't realize was available.
Many studies are discovering that Oregano, the "pizza herb", is a powerful antioxidant. The compound in Oregano, rosmarinic acid, has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. Of all the plants in the mint family, Oregano is the richest in antioxidants.
Oregano may help prevent the cell damage caused by free radicals--highly unstable oxygen molecules that steal electrons from other molecules they find. Free radical reactions are most likely involved in inflammation, degenerative arthritis and the aging process in general. Evidence is growing that antioxidants may help relieve osteoarthritis and rheumatism.
Oregano also contains four anti-asthmatic compounds; six compounds that are expectorants; seven that lower blood pressure; nineteen antibacterial compounds and up to 8.8 percent bactericidal compounds.
Loaded with antiseptic compounds, Oregano is useful in treating sinusitis; try a tea and inhale as you drink.
Make a tea by using one to two teaspoons of dried oregano per cup of boiling water.
According to Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, Oregano helps reduce fevers and relieve cramps, bronchitis, childhood diseases such as measles and mumps, and irregular menstruations. Make this tea: bring a pint of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of Oregano. Stir well, cover and let steep for about half an hour. Strain and it can be refrigerated. Warming only slightly that amount to be consumed, one cup two to three times daily.
Natural Oregano Herb Offers A Variety Of Remedies.
The following is an excerpt from Dr. Cass Igram's book The Cure is in the Cupboard .
Infectious Disease and Oil of Oregano.
A microbe is described in the dictionary as a minute form of life. A microorganism is one that causes disease. We are surrounded by an infinite number of microorganisms. We tend to think of them as something outside the body, but if truth be known, the number of microbes residing in the body would be shocking. These microbes or microorganisms have a critical influence on our health. Infectious diseases are responsible for many of our modern day diseases, disabilities and deaths. Most of the hospital visits are infection related and more than 90% of doctor visits are due to infections.
While the major cause of death in this country is degenerative diseases, infectious diseases are the major cause world wide. However, between the 1600's to the early 1900's, a large number of deaths were infection related. For example in the early 1900's several million people died from a flu epidemic. In that same era, other killers such as cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis, small pox, typhus, pertussis, hepatitis, shigella and amebic dysentery claimed many lives.
In the 1940's, we see a dramatic reduction of these untimely deaths due to improved sanitation and nutrition and the advent of antibiotics. Yet infections still kill even in spite of the advances in modern medicine. The latest statistics show that the number of infection related deaths have risen by 60% between 1980-1992. It is expected that at this rate, by the year 2000, infectious diseases will rival heart disease and cancer as a primary cause of death.
Many viruses and bacteria have become immune to the current arsenal of antibiotics. There is no drug available that is guaranteed to cure any of the major infectious diseases. In fact, drugs, particularly antibiotics, have aggravated the dilemma. The widespread use of antibiotics have created mutant resistant microbes and because these microbes alter their genetics, they have become immune to the antibiotic.
These mutants are a major cause of severe illness in western culture. These genetically altered microbes are not only able to resist the antibiotic, but they are also able to invade the immune system. Some bacteria are even able to digest the drug and use it for fuel. They are extremely difficult to kill.
The diseases that result can be life threatening. The "Hippocrates" magazine quotes that 130,000 hospitalized patients in this country die each year due to antibiotic resistant microbes. In "Germs that won't die" by Lappe tens of thousands of Americans who have never had a serious infection develop one simply by entering a hospital as a patient or a visitor. Millions of people lose their health or lives from infections which could be potentially cured if physicians only knew about the antiseptics of nature.
Many people are also allergic to antibiotics. Some reactions are sudden and often severe. Many have died or have suffered serious damage to their immune system and/or internal organs. Americans spend thousands of dollars on antibiotics. Sadly, this is not money well spent. Most of the drugs are ultimately ineffective and tend to aggravate the illness. There are several reasons why.
Antibiotics create mutant microbes. These mutants continue to cause trouble and do not respond to treatment. Antibiotics also destroy the friendly bacteria that perform useful functions, i.e., Lactobacillus acidophilus. These friendly bacteria aid the immune system and help prevent infection. Drug toxicity is another problem arising from the widespread use of drugs.
Some drugs such as aminoglycosides, erythromycin and tetracyclines damage vital organs such as the liver, bone marrow and kidneys. Antibiotics are a regular cause of hepatitis, inflammatory damage to the liver. Antibiotics have their place, but they are prescribed excessively and this has led to a much more serious and dangerous health crisis.
Incredibly, drug companies are investigating the use of natural substances in the treatment of infectious diseases. Before the advent of penicillin, such substances as sulfur, garlic, ginger, goldenseal, Echinacea, thyme, camphor and horseradish were commonly used as natural antiseptics.
A look back at history either to a museum or an old pharmacy will reveal that natural medicines were the mainstay and served as such for over 200 years. Many physicians and herbalists for years used these natural substances to fight infections and microbial resistance was not a problem.
We must once again return to our natural resources to eradicate the enormous number of infectious diseases including those which are now resistant to antibiotics. Synthetic drugs are unreliable and are responsible for complicating the sickness. Side effects are numerous and often severe and lead to a host of new problems which then might require treatment. Natural antibiotics are essentially non toxic.
Oil of Oregano is a premier antiseptic and contains a wide range of anti microbial powers. It is unequaled in its ability to kill a wide range of microbes and it does not promote microbial resistance. The oil is derived from certain species of oregano plants, similar to what is grown in herb gardens. Its odor or fragrance is pungent and its flowers are quite colorful.
This is not to be compared to what we find in the spice section of the grocery store or in Italian foods. Oregano, as we know it, is not the same medicinally. You won't achieve the desired results by eating pizza or spaghetti.
The oil is derived from a unique species of plant that grows wild throughout the world. The oregano is rich in essential oil and is processed in a special type of distillation. This procedure ensures minimal alteration of the active ingredients and the curative properties are preserved. The result is an amber colored liquid which has a powerful and hot tasting flavor. Its odor is similar to camphor. It takes 200 pounds of herb to produce 2 pounds of oil. It is difficult and expensive to produce. What you find in health food stores is not a medicinal grade of oregano.
The premier features of this product are:
- its valuable inflammatory actions
- can neutralize a wide range of spiders, scorpions, bees, ants and snake bites and stings
- natural antiseptic, can treat various painful lesions and pain disorders
- mucolytic, helps to mobilize and thin mucous, useful in lung disorders
- antitussive, halts cough and eases spasticity of the lung tubules
- antispasmodic, obliterates tightness and spasms of muscles
- its greatest attribute is its anti microbial property
Some of the infectious diseases are; staph/strep, E. Coli, venereal disease, salmonella, cholera, typhus, flesh eating bacteria, camphylobacter, dysentery, mycoplasma, Epstein Barr, HIV Heliobacter, herpes, colds, flu, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Lyme, Shigella, Candida, Cyclospora, Cryptosporidium, Meningoccoccus, Encephalitic virus, dengue and hanta virus. They can strike at anytime. Not only is it the epitome of distress to contact one of these diseases, many of them are fatal and have no medical cure.
What is little known is that in addition to the acute infections, many chronic diseases are also caused by infections. Diseases including arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, rosacea, gastritis, and Chron's disease are not usually correctly treated. Antibiotics will not work for these conditions, rather, it is the natural antiseptic and nutritional therapies that are the answer.