By Christian Dischler
Oregano is an herb that’s long served as a cure to many ailments. According to Greek mythology, this meandering herb grew in Aphrodite’s garden to symbolize joy, and “ganos” translates to “joy of the mountain.” Its medicinal uses date back to the Middle Ages where people were known to chew on it to ease their toothaches and indigestion. However, this powerful herb didn’t begin its official super food “glow up” until after World War II, when American soldiers brought it home, inspired by their Italian counterparts to utilize it’s unique, robust flavor. While we all know and love oregano for its ever-important role in our favorite Italian dishes, there’s plenty of hidden health benefits within those little textured leaves.
Oregano is a fighter. It helps fight against bacteria, inflammation, fungal and parasitic infections. Its most powerful form is in the oil of oregano, which is extracted from the leaves and used as an antibiotic to help our bodies fight against such intruders. Most notably, it’s been shown to effectively kill bacterial strains such as E. coli, and certain respiratory illnesses that can attack us when the seasons begin to change. Needless to say, oregano can be a powerful ally for our bodies when defending against certain colds and viruses that have begun to dominate our medical journals these last few years.
This super herb is also loaded with antioxidants, the tried and true mantle of any notable super food. These antioxidants help rid our systems of free radicals, thus decreasing our risk for cancers and heart disease. In particular, thymol and carvacrol are two antioxidants found in oregano that help mitigate damage caused by those pesky free radicals.
The writing on the wall of your favorite pizza joint is clear. Oregano is a powerful herb that seems to have as many benefits as it does mentions in your favorite recipe book. Stock up on some concentrated oregano oil this season and dilute it with water to help you ward off unwanted colds, bacterial infections and more. But also make sure you plant some in your garden like Aphrodite would, so it’s readily available to include in all of your beloved Italian dishes. The addition of this spicy and flavorful herb never hurts a dish! And it certainly won’t harm you, either.