November 19, 2012

Kitchen Pantry Series: 1. The Many Health Benefits of Oregano

One of the challenges that we face in helping people discover and use natural remedies is that it seems impossible to many that something found in nature, in your yard or herb garden even, can have a positive, powerful effect on your health.  Anything that good must cost a billion dollars and require a prescription.  For this reason, I decided to do a series on the health benefits of some of the most common herbs, most found in your kitchen pantry, to help reprogram our thinking to recognize the health power of simple, natural foods and remedies.  My first choice is the king spice of pizza lovers everywhere: oregano.

Oregano is a culinary herb that grows practically everywhere.  It has long been recognized as a “functional food” for its nutritional, anti-oxidants, and disease fighting properties. It contains an impressive list of compounds known for their health-enhancing properties and has been a part of our natural medicine chest for many years.

Oregano has been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflamatory properties which makes it useful in recovering from colds, flu, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets, and painful menstruation conditions.

Oregano also has shown to perform as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory in which it counteracts the histamine response common in colds, flu, and allergies.

Oregano is rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin A, carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.  Oregano also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, vitamins A and C, and niacin. Although these components don’t directly impact upper respiratory problems, all of them are required by the systems within the body including the immune system.

Even more amazing, Fox News did a story on ongoing research as to oregano’s ability to kill prostate cancer cells.  According to early results from the study, carvacrol, one of the main components of oregano, could eliminate nearly all prostate cancer cells it came into contact with within 96 hours.  

Can you believe that all of this comes from a pizza ingredient?  While I’m not advocating that oregano is the new wonder drug, it does demonstrate how eating a variety of healthy foods including (organic, non-irradiated) spices could contribute to a healthier body.

Do you own research by googling oregano or carvacrol and find out the details.  Here’s some of the links I used in my research.