Oregano owes its peppery and playful scent to the goddess Venus. It was a symbol of joy, happiness, and peace, and in ancient Greece, it was used for making bridal wreaths and was planted on graves so that the deceased would have a serene and peaceful journey.
Tradition says that it protects against spells and evil spirits. The Arab physician Avicenna says that oregano "removes all sorts of fluid from the lungs and is used for the distress and sickness." Theophrastus refers to it as "origan white" and Dioscorides "origan Iraklia".
Aristotle recounts that if a turtle would eat a snake, she would immediately look for oregano to eat so that she would be not poisoned. Likewise, it was said that if a beast was wounded by a hunter’s arrow hunter, if the animal ate oregano, the wound would close. Because of this, it was believed it was an antidote to poison. The antiseptic and "conservative" properties of oregano have been inherited since from one generation to another.
The Greeks and Romans used it in their bath water, in massage oils and believed it to be a disinfectant, antiseptic and preservative.
In the 16th century, it was considered as a medicine against the plague and it was used as a sedative for the itching and scabies in therapeutic baths.
Oregano is the most popular herb in the Mediterranean and is a favorite herb in Greek and Italian cuisine. If you like raw olive oil, adding a few dried oregano flowers in a bottle will give it a special flavour.
• Thymol and carvacrol, which are contained in large amounts in oregano, inhibit the growth of bacteria and prevents the action of free radicals.
• According to a research conducted by the University of Georgetown, thymol and carvacrol can help inhibit the growth of many bacteria and fungi, including those that cause food-borne infections. The study showed that oregano kills germs in the same way they do antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and vancomycin
• Can be used against inflammation and ulcers of the mouth and tonsils.
• It has anti-bacterial anti-inflammatory healing, analgesic, digestive, sudorific, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diuretic properties.
• A study of the University of Long Island concludes that it reduces the chances of prostate cancer and potentially could be used to treat it.
• It is rich in antioxidants, substances that protect cells from damage. It slows down cell damage, delaying this way the aging process. It can also be a better source of antioxidants than many other food groups such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
It also contains a large amount of vitamin E, which protects the red blood cells and vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps in collagen formation and keeping healthy teeth and gums. It is rich in vitamin K, zinc, potassium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, iron and beta-carotene.
• Combats weakness of the intestines facilitates digestion and calms the nervous system. It also facilitates menstruation.
• It helps in hypertension and atherosclerosis.
• Kills parasites of the intestine and stimulates the digestive system.
• Oregano is antispasmodic, fights dysmenorrhea, soothes aching muscles and is good for rheumatisms, while the essential oil of oregano, the famous riganolado, combats with topical application toothache.
During pregnancy, the decoction should be avoided as it is a stimulant of the womb.