Health – Oregano

Oregano, a Valuable Plant

“God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.” Genesis 1:11–13

Historical Uses

Jethro Kloss, in his book, Back to Eden, Back to Eden Books Publishing, Loma Linda, California, which was originally published in 1939, recognized the value of this herb. He describes some of the uses as follows:

“Very strengthening to the stomach and increases the appetite. Excellent for relieving sour stomach. Excellent in tuberculosis and severe cough. Good in suppressed urine, suppressed menstruation, dropsy, yellow jaundice, scurvy, and itch. The extracted juice is excellent for deafness or pain and noise in the ears. Drop a few drops in the ear whenever necessary. The oil dropped in the hollow of an aching tooth will stop the pain. Will expel gas from the stomach and bowels.

“Very helpful in dyspepsia. Good for rheumatism, colic, nausea, and neuralgia. A poultice made from this herb is very beneficial for painful swellings, sprains, felons, boils, and carbuncles. It is an excellent medicine in nervous persons. Good to use in salves and liniments. It is excellent for a sore throat when applied as a heating compress. Steep a heaping tablespoonful in a pint of boiling water for thirty minutes. Dip a cloth in this hot tea, apply to the neck, binding snugly with a dry cloth.

“It is well to cover the compress with oiled silk or a piece of plastic, which will keep it moist. For general use, steep a teaspoonful to a cup of boiling water for twenty minutes; drink cold one or two cupfuls a day, one hour before meals. Children less according to age.” Back to Eden, 162, 163.

Updated Benefits and Uses

Just think of all the benefits from this one little plant. We need to keep this valuable information accessible to share with all who are interested. Research is now indicating that herbs are a rich source of healthy antioxidants and that oregano ranks the highest. “Some herbs should be considered as regular vegetables,” says Shiow Y. Wang, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher and a plant physiologist/ biochemist with the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. “People should use more herbs for flavoring instead of salt and artificial chemicals.”

Wang found that herbs with the highest antioxidant activity belonged to the oregano family. In general, oregano had 3 to 20 times higher antioxidant activity than the other herbs studied.

On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano and other herbs ranked even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. In comparison to the antioxidant activities of a few select fruits and vegetables, the potency of oregano ranks supreme. Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries, Wang says.

For example, she says that one tablespoon of fresh oregano contains the same antioxidant activity as one medium-sized apple.

Even if you’re not into oregano, other herbs also appear to pack a significant antioxidant punch. Among the more familiar, ranked in order, are dill, garden thyme, rosemary and peppermint.

The most active phenol component in some of the herbs with the highest antioxidant activity, particularly oregano, was rosmarinic acid, a strong antioxidant, the researcher says.

Fruits and vegetables have long been viewed as a rich source of antioxidant compounds. Health officials have been urging consumers for years to eat more fruits and vegetables in order to gain the health benefits of antioxidants, but progress has been slow, according to researchers. Westerners still tend to favor diets that are rich in fats and carbohydrates.

Now, herbs have emerged as a quick and easy way to get a concentrated source of antioxidants without all the extra calories of whole foods, Wang says. She recently compared the antioxidant activity of herbs to a few select spices, including paprika, garlic, curry, chili, and black pepper. Herbs came out on top, she says.

Herbs can be consumed in a variety of ways. Some people prefer to drink herb extracts, which can be made by adding herbs to hot water to make potent antioxidant teas. Others use concentrated herbal oils available in some health food stores. Most of us prefer a little dash and sprinkle of the familiar leafy or powdered versions to add flavor to our favorite foods.

In general, fresh herbs and spices are healthier and contain higher antioxidant levels compared to their processed counterparts. For example, the antioxidant activity of fresh garlic is 1.5 times higher than dry garlic powder, the researcher says.

These measures of fresh herbs contain the same antioxidant activity as one apple:

  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 3 tablespoons of dill
  • 4.5 tablespoons of thyme
  • 7 tablespoons of sage
  • 8 tablespoons of parsley

Source: Shiow Y. Wang, Ph.D., USDA/Agricultural Research Service, Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.

God has provided us with such a wealth of nutrients through His creation and we have the blessing of growing these little miracles in our own kitchens. I am sure we do not realize or appreciate the value of each plant provided for our sustenance and health. To God be the glory, great things He hath done!