Oregano is one of my favorite herbs to grow, cook with and use to keep myself well- especially during cold and flu season. I’ve written a blog in the past about this amazing herb but I felt compelled to update it so here you go:
This herb can be dated back to as far as the ancient Greek time. The word oregano is actually a derivation from Greek words ‘Oros’ meaning mounting, and ‘Ganos’ meaning joy. Thus the word oregano means ‘the mountain of joy’. According to Greek mythology, oregano was created by goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. For this reason, the Greek believed using oregano in marriage ceremony would provide joy and usage of oregano in funerals would convey peace to the dead. After the Romans conquered the Greek, the Romans inherited the use of oregano and the Romans were the ones responsible for the extensive use of oregano all over Europe and abroad. After that, with time this herb found itself a journey from the Middle East to China. In China, they used oregano exclusively for medicinal purposes. As for the United States, oregano did not seem to find itself much popularity until the World War II.
Oregano is actually closely related to mint, and its genus is actually in the same family as Mentha. For this reason, the two share many similar organic components and have many of the same health benefits. The leaves of oregano are the most commonly used part of the plant, but strangely, the aroma and flavor of the leaves is far greater when the herb is dried than when the leaves are fresh, which is somewhat unusual for an herb.
Why should you consume this amazing herb? Let me tell you:
Immune Health: Two of the most important components of oregano are rosmarinic acid and thymol, both of which are powerful antioxidant compounds that have been closely linked to reducing oxidative stress in the body. Free radicals are the destructive byproducts of cellular metabolis that can cause cancer and other chronic diseases, so adding oregano to your diet by sprinkling it on your meals can seriously improve your immune health and keep your body safe from some of the most dangerous and silent killers. This herb is your friend during cold and flu season.
Antibacterial Activity: On a more basic immune system note, oregano also has clear antibacterial properties, which are again due to the presence of thymol and carvacrol. These important organic compounds can defend the body against a wide range of bacteria that can affect the skin, the gut, and other parts of the body. Oregano is also a slightly stimulating agent, which can increase the production of white blood cells and speed up the metabolism, making recovery from illness even faster.
Digestive Health: Oregano is packed with fiber, so despite its small size, it can have a major impact on your digestive system. Fiber is an essential element of a healthy digestive system, as it can increase the bulk of your stool and stimulate peristaltic motion, which moves food through the digestive tract and excretes it efficiently. Also, fiber helps to maintain the health of the gut and increases nutrient uptake, so the food you eat does more for you!
Heart Health: Oregano is a natural form of omega-3 fatty acids, the beneficial type of cholesterol that actually improves your heart health, whereas omega-6 fatty acids have a negative impact. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and rebalance your cholesterol levels in the cardiovascular system, thereby helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes! Go Oregano!!
Detoxify the Body: The nutrient-rich makeup of oregano, including high content of manganese, calcium, iro, vitamin K, fiber, and a wide range of other organic compounds, makes this helpful herb an ideal candidate for detoxifying the body. Research has shown that oregano can help liver function and speed up the process of toxin elimination.
Bone Health: As we get older, our bones begin to weaken and break down, so ensuring that we get enough vitamins and minerals in our early years is important. Calcium, iron, and manganese are some of the most crucial minerals for bone health, and oregano has significant amounts of all of them, making it great for people who want to protect themselves against osteoporosis later in life. Maintaining mobility is our goal as we age!
Energy Levels: By improving the functionality of the metabolism, thanks to B-vitamins and its unique organic composition, the body is rejuvenated and energized. The increase in circulation, due to the presence of iron and increased levels of hemoglobin, helps to fully oxygenate the cells and muscles of the body, thereby increasing energy and strength.
What is the best thing about this little herb and all its friends? You can grow it with almost no effort. It grows in the ground or in a pot and it needs very little tending. Snip and cook- you really won’t believe the difference it will make in your food and health.
Come by Cuisine for Healing and try our Spice mix- we sell it right at our office and it is fabulous!! But hurry over- we cant keep this stuff on the shelf!
Happy Healthy Eating