When we hear of antioxidant foods, we often hear of berries. Blueberries in particular are touted for their rich antioxidant content. But we rarely talk about oregano—an herb with an estimated 4 times the concentration of antioxidants as blueberries and offers a wealth of additional health benefits. From adding flavor to dishes to killing antibiotic resistant infections, oregano has many uses in the kitchen and beyond.
An Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score is a number assigned to plants intidcating its antioxidant strength. Oregano is in the top five of ORAC scores when looking at spices and herbs. With concentrations of greater than 75 mmol/100g, oregano has some of the highest concentration of these protective compounds.
Per gram, it has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.
Of its antioxidants, phytonutrients are plentiful. These are protective compounds that are able to guard cells against damage by free radicals while improving your ability to fight infection.
The herb also contains something called carvacol, a compound known for its antimicrobial activity. It’s carvacol that is credited with many of the infection-fighting capabilities of oregano. In Mexico, for instance, a study found oregano more effective than a common prescription to treat the amoebic infection known as Giardia lamblia.
Other studies have even found it effective at fighting the resistant infection known as MRSA.
“We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000,” explains professor Vyv Salisbury. “The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapor and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water.”
Finally, you can utilize oregano oil if you want to utilize oregano in a whole other way. From being a power digestive aid to fighting cancer oregano oil benefits range far and wide. The oil, like oregano, is especially effective at fighting super bacteria and could even replace bleach in food preparations. According to scientists from the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center, oregano oil could actually be a ‘new’ and ‘safe’ antimicrobial agent that could serve to replace big pharma’s drugs. Based on their research and the findings of the other scientists, the team agreed that oregano oil could be the natural and logical solution.
Additional oregano benefits include:
- Intestinal parasites
This culinary herb can be grown in most climates or can be kept in a pot in a sunny window. For more information on growing your own oregano, check out the “oregano benefits” link just above.