Most people would be familiar with the culinary uses of oregano (Origanum vulgare), but this little herb is also packed full of medicinal and health benefits. In general, oregano has vitamin E and K, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It also contains more antioxidants than blueberries, is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, and of course, anti-fungal.
Focusing on the anti-fungal properties, there are an abundance of both external and internal ailments that this easy-to-grow herb can help to treat. The two key compounds (or phytonutrients) in oregano that give it its anti-fungal properties are thymol and carvacrol. These two compounds can be extracted easily by infusing oregano either into a carrier oil to make a warming herbal oil, or high proof alcohol to make a tincture. It is possible to produce oregano essential oil by the more complicated method of extraction via steam distillation (using a kettle or pressure cooker), however, producing your own essential oil requires copious amounts of plant matter.
There are numerous ways to apply oregano medicinally. Oregano infused herbal oil, tincture and tea can all be either applied externally or internally for fungal infections over a 4 to 6-week period; whereas oregano essential oil is strictly for external use only, must be diluted and should only be applied for a 2-week period. Below you can find 10 different ways to treat fungal infections with oregano.
1. Oregano Infused Oil
Infused oil is one of the most versatile ways to use oregano to treat fungal infections. It can either be applied directly to the skin, face, and nails to treat acne, athlet’s foot, staph infections, cold sores, and ringworm; you can use it to make other homemade remedies, such as a topical salve; or you can add it to a salad and cook with it to improve gut health and treat SIBO, UTIs and food poisoning (and it tastes much better than oregano tea).
Summer is the best season to make oregano infused oil, since the flowers are in bloom, the beneficial compounds in the plant are at their most potent and you can prepare the oil using the solar method.
This entails filling the bottom of a glass jar with dried oregano and topping the jar up with a carrier oil (see below for details on some carrier oils). Place it in the sun for at least 4 weeks and shake every other day. Otherwise, you can place the jar in a pot of hot water for a few hours. Then you just have to strain it so that you are left with the oregano infused oil, which has retained the medicinal properties of the herb.
I use virgin olive oil for most of my herbal infused oils since that is what I have in the cupboard. You can use any plant-based oil as a carrier oil, and most have their own medicinal benefits to contribute to the remedy.
2. Oregano with Coconut Oil
One incredibly easy way to use oregano topically is to mix either one drop of oregano essential oil or a few drops of oregano infused oil or tincture with a teaspoon of coconut oil.
The coconut oil contains caprylic acid that kills other types of microbes such as yeasts, so the combination makes a really effective all-round fungal treatment for Athlete’s foot, nail infections, acne, eczema, cold sores, staph infections, ringworm, gum disease, tooth infection, canker sores, mouth ulcers, and UTIs.
This concoction can be added to your cooking (as long as you use an infused oil or tincture, not essential oil) to help treat SIBO, food poisoning, and UTIs.
3. Oregano Tincture
An oregano tincture can be used in a similar way to the oregano infused oil above – either a few drops applied topically to treat external fungal infections, or consumed for internal infections. It’s another great all-rounder.
In addition to this, when 2 – 3 drops of oregano tincture are mixed with water, you can use it as a daily mouth wash, otherwise apply the tincture directly to the gums to combat gums disease, tooth infection, canker sores, and mouth ulcers.
To make an oregano tincture, fill a jar with dried oregano and high proof alcohol, leave it in a dark, cool cupboard for 4 –6 weeks, strain, label, and store for your next remedy.
4. Oregano Salve
You can make your own oregano salve by heating the oregano infused oil in remedy 1 in a double boiler and slowly adding beeswax until you are satisfied with the consistency.
As an extra anti-fungal boost, you can add a drop or two of clove and lavender essential oil to your salve.
Since this is an oil-based remedy, it has a 6-month shelf-life and doesn’t require preservatives.
5. Oregano Tea
While oregano tea is incredibly healthy, it is not a tea that is enjoyed for its taste. When drinking oregano tea, it is best mixed with other herbs to disguise its slightly peppery, bitter taste (I throw in either a bag of mint or chai tea and honey).
Preparation is easy, simply brew either fresh or dried oregano for at least 10 minutes, strain, and then serve.
Drinking oregano tea can help to balance the different types of bacteria and microbes in the gut and intestinal tract. The occasional oregano tea can be ‘enjoyed’ without any negative impacts, however prolonged high doses can kill all of the good and bad microbes and bacteria in your gut, which can lead to other serious conditions.
6. Oregano Raw Cooked
Fresh and dried oregano features heavily in Mediterranean cooking and eating it is another way to treat internal fungal infections, such as SIBO, food poisoning, and UTIs. It can also help to keep the good and bad bacteria and microbes in your gut in a healthy balance.
7. Oregano Steam Tent
You can use oregano infused oil, tincture, or essential oil to create a steam treatment for chest infections.
Just add a few drops of oregano to a tub of boiling water, drape a towel over the back of your head and lean into the steam.
The oregano infused steam will help to clear the airway, improve the mucus membrane, and fight any bacteria and viruses in the respiratory system.
8. Oregano Wet Wrap or Cold Compress
For some skin conditions such as eczema or skin dermatitis, a water-based remedy is the better solution, since this condition affects the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Brew some fresh oregano in a pot of hot water until it cools, soak bandages in the tea and wrap around the affected area.
Cotton socks and gloves make an easy bandage for treating hands and feet.
9. Oregano Lotion
Another water-based, moisturizing remedy that takes a few seconds to prepare, and is good for eczema, acne, cold sores, and ringworm is to take a small amount of any moisturizer or lotion that you have and either mix a few drops of infused oregano oil or one drop of essential oil to it. This gives you an instant, hydrating lotion that is also anti-fungal.
This method is great for any infused herbal oil or essential oil, and it avoids the complicated process of making your own lotion, which requires preservatives if you want a shelf-life of longer than 4 weeks.
10. Oregano Poultice
A warming, oregano poultice is a great option for drawing out external infections, especially on dry skin.
Blend, mash or grind the fresh oregano leaves and/or flowers with a drop or two of water until it makes a thick paste. Apply the paste to the affected area and wrap a clean bandage around it once to hold it in place. Remove the poultice once the paste has dried and cleaned the area if required.
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