Oregano Oil

Viruses are becoming more and more lethal. Even very healthy people are being affected. These days a determinant of good health is not whether or not you get the flu but how fast your body fights it off.

To counter these strong viruses, we are starting to use new herbal remedies and the one that is the most outstanding is Oil of Oregano, a member of the mint family. Oil of Oregano is a truly stellar natural microbial killer. This oil was used before the turn of the century and then became unavailable in North America until 1997.

Oil of Oregano is derived from medicinal oregano plants found in the Mediterranean and is vastly different from the spice found in our gardens and on our pizzas.

Medicinal oregano is gathered from the hills and forests in various parts of the world. The oil is extracted using a special low-heat type of steam distillation, which preserves the herb’s curative aspects. The resulting oil is brownish, smells like the spice oregano and has a strong, hot-tasting flavour.

The name "oregano” is derived from a Greek word meaning "joy of the mountains.”It could well be that the joy of this herb came from the pleasure Greek physicians experienced when using it for traumas, lung conditions, and as a germ killer. In ninth century Baghdad it was ground up and used as a preservative to keep produce fresh for weeks.

This wild herb is also highly concentrated in minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. Here in Canada we don’t eat the wild herb so we also don’t get the benefits of the high mineral content.

It takes 100 pounds of wild oregano to make one pound of the oil. Its major use has been as an antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitical. The primary active component of Oil of Oregano is carvacrol, a type of phenol. This substance has so far proved impossible to reproduce. In my office I have used it mainly to fight off viruses. Oil of Oregano not only kills the microbes but it also enhances the body’s antiviral defenses by boosting white blood cell function and lymph flow.

I have found Oil of Oregano even stronger than Echinacea for warding off colds. I’m also using more and more as an anti-Candida (yeast) killer. Take Oil of Oregano with you when you travel by plane or when you are visiting a country where you may be worried about dysentery or parasites. Other uses for Oil of Oregano include all infections like acne, boils and athletes foot. It also works for mouth infections, gum diseases, bad breath and thrush.

Unfortunately Oil of Oregano tastes very hot so the best way to take it is by a dropperful in the mouth followed by a chaser of water or juice. If it’s still too strong, place it on a one-inch square of bread, roll it up and swallow it.

Because it kills microbes, including the good bacteria in our gut, it’s important to add an acidophilus blend to your diet. Take it an hour apart from the Oil of Oregano.

One last word: buyer beware! Oil of Oregano tends to be expensive and the less expensive kinds are knock-offs and don’t have the medicinal properties of the true Oil of Oregano. Try it the next time a cold or flu threatens to take hold. It has wonderful curative powers.

Dr. Paulette Roscoe is a naturopathic physician who practices in Nanaimo. She welcomes your calls at 754-1733.