Health Benefits of Oregano
It has long been known that oregano has anti-bacterial properties. Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic. Although he was not aware of the exact nature of infection, he understood that the use of oregano could prevent it. The active ingredients in oregano oils that performs this function are thymol and carvacrol.
Research in Mexico indicates that oregano is effective against infection by the amoeba in the form of an illness commonly known as Giardia. It is also an excellent antioxidant. Some studies indicate that the free radical fighting properties of oregano (pound for pound) may even exceed that of many beneficial fruits and vegetables such as apples and antioxidant rich blueberries. Various companies have isolated the oils and sell it in capsules or with a dropper. In this form the thymol and carvacrol are highly concentrated as is the flavor. Given a concentrated dose of oregano oil directly on the tongue or skin can cause a burning sensation.
Fresh oregano is also a source of fiber, but since it is not usually eaten in large quantities this aspect of the plant goes unappreciated. Like spinach and other leafy vegetables, fresh oregano is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. It is a good source of iron and manganese as well as calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It also has omega-3 fatty acids.
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