Esteemed by the ancient Greeks, oregano was considered a cure-all in medieval times. When the first European settlers landed in North America, oregano was one of the first medicinal plants that was grown. Needless to say, this leafy herb has a long history in both cooking and healing.
We wanted to focus on oregano this month because we’re approaching cold & flu season. Oregano is widely acknowledged for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and as such, is highly antiseptic. It’s rich in vitamins K and E, fiber, manganese, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, and contains loads of other compounds that strengthen the body.
While you may be most familiar with oregano leaves in their dried form for cooking, you can use the fresh leaves in tea and to replace dried oregano in recipes. This herb also derives a potent, medicinal essential oil. Oil of oregano is a volatile oil, which are extremely complex essential oils that provide herbalists and naturopaths with a potent aid in carrying out their treatments.
Both the herb (dried or fresh leaves) and the more concentrated Oil of Oregano work brilliantly for medicinal purposes and delicious flavor in recipes. Soothe a sore throat by steeping some fresh oregano leaves in boiling water for a cozy wintertime tea. Even just a few drops of oregano oil (we like diluting it in a small glass of water) from a tincture bottle can help fight respiratory illness and gastrointestinal infections.
What are some of your favorite ways to use oregano?
Have you always wanted to add more healing herbs to your cooking? Or maybe you’re new to cooking and would like to learn more about healthy, nourishing ingredients? No matter the level of culinary prowess, our Herbs that Heal series will guide beginners and experts alike through one new herb a month. You can use these herbs to enhance your enjoyment of both cooking and eating!