Throughout history, mankind has looked for substances to treat a wide range of health problems, rather than selectively treating individual symptoms or conditions. Natural compounds may be the best hope in offering curative powers, and they have the potential for multiple uses. Research has shown that spice extracts exert particularly unique actions. They are powerful germicides, capable of killing a wide range of germs, as well as potent antioxidants. One of the most potent of these is wild oregano.
Since antiquity, wild oregano has been relied upon as a therapeutic herb. Few people realize that it was used in ancient times as more of a medicine than a food. About 3000 B.C. the Babylonians described it as a cure for lung and cardiac disease. They also used it for wound healing and curing venomous bites. The ancient Greeks considered it their favorite medicinal herb and gave it its name, "oroganos", which means delight of the mountains. They used it for healing wounds, killing infections and reversing lung and cardiac disorders.
English physicians, who led the Western world in herbalism, were major fans of oregano oil. Salmon's Herbal, written in the 1600s, is a good example of this leadership. In the book, oregano oil is highly touted; it is recommended for chest, menstrual, uterine, lung and digestive complaints. Specifically, its use against diarrhea, asthma, colds, infections of the female sexual organs, as well as uterine tumors, is mentioned. Additionally, its value against liver disorders is emphasized. Gerard, the 17th century British herbalist, described the oil of oregano as a complete cure for digestive complaints and head colds. William Langham, in Garden of Health (1633), described an even wider range of uses, his list including such diverse conditions as bladder trouble, bleeding, heart failure, head pain, itchy skin, mouth pain, freckles or spots on the skin, stomachache, intestinal worms, and toothache. Thus, it has always been relied upon as an emergency medicine.
The ancient emphasis upon the germ killing powers of this spice is confirmed by modern research. Greek researchers in 1995 at the University of Thessoloniki found that a 1-to-4,000 dilution of fresh wild oil of oregano sterilized septic water. This is further edified by research at Cornell University, which found that of all natural substances evaluated, oregano was one of the few that killed all germs against which it was tested. Some 30 different germs succumbed to its antiseptic powers. Italian researchers repeated this work, finding that of some 40 herbs, oregano oil was the most effective bacterial killer.
Other researchers document the powers of wild oregano against fungi, yeast and parasites. Research documents that as many as 80 percent of all chronic sinus, ear and lung problems are due to mold/fungal infections. Authors publishing in the International Journal of Food Microbiology found that of all spices tested, oregano proved most powerful for halting the growth of fungi. In a tiny concentration, oil of oregano killed fungi, stopped mycelial growth (the tentacles produced by fungi to infect tissue) and neutralized mold toxins. Researchers at Georgetown University recently discovered that the blend of wild oregano oils (known as Oreganol P73) exhibited potent germicidal actions. This blend completely killed a stubborn human pathogen, Candida albicans, in a dose less than a half percent. Candida may be involved in a wide range of conditions, including vaginal disorders, infertility, ovarian disorders, endometriosis, PMS, bladder infections, kidney disorders, spastic colon, constipation and post surgical infections. Even
parasites are far from immune. A human study found that both amoebas (a major cause of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders) and Blastocystis hominus (an immunosuppressive protozoan) were eliminated from the human colon after oil of oregano therapy.
Wild oregano is a spice and germ killer of antiquity with significant immune and germ killing power, and because it is an edible spice, it is acceptable for human ingestion. However, the type of oregano used is very important. Virtually all research has been done on high-quality Mediterranean oregano, rather than Spanish (Thymus capitus) or Mexican (Lippia). The Oreganol proprietary blend of wild oregano oils is exclusively wild, hand-picked and Mediterranean sourced. In addition, a portion of Oreganol proceeds fund a program that helps build infrastructure and schools, and supports conservation.
Cass Ingram, D.O., is a physician and surgeon and author of 12 books, including Eat Right to Live Long, The Respiratory Solution and The Cure is in the Cupboard. He is a frequent guest expert on major media, including radio and TV news shows. He lives in Buffalo Grove, Ill.