Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

Natural Factors
Gardner harvesting oregano in a herb garden

Top 5 Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

On average, Canadian adults suffer from 2–5 colds every year, and if you have a child in daycare or school, chances are that your house is already shaking with sneezes. [1] With more than 200 viruses responsible for the common cold, it’s practically impossible to avoid exposure – but there are ways to support immune function year-round. Step up oregano oil. A source of natural antimicrobial compounds, keeping sniffles at bay is just one of the top 5 health benefits of oregano oil.

1. Natural Antioxidant Activity

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is no average herb. It contains active compounds called carvacrol, thymol, and rosmarinic acid, and has considerably more antioxidant potential than blueberries, gram for gram. Indeed, oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activities of aromatic and culinary herbs.[2] It easily scavenges free radicals to help fight oxidative damage to cells throughout the body. [2,3]

Culinary oregano contains very little of these active compounds, however, so don’t count on pizza to cure your cold.

By fighting free radicals, oil of oregano can help relieve symptoms of the common cold and other infections. Which brings us to the next health benefit of oregano oil. 

2. Oregano Oil as an Antimicrobial

Oil of oregano is now recognized as an active antimicrobial as well as a potent antioxidant that can help relieve cold and flu symptoms. It provides natural support for the immune system and defends against infectious bacteria.

Rosmarinic acid is the key compound in oregano oil thought to contribute to the maintenance of overall health and immune support.[3,4] A clinical study found that after 21 days of supplementation with rosmarinic acid, the number of defending white blood cells (called neutrophils and eosinophils) in volunteers’ nasal fluid had significantly decreased. [3]

What this means is that a standardized oil of oregano offers a high level of key active compounds to support the immune system’s efforts in tracking down and eliminating pathogens (including the rhinovirus responsible for the common cold). 

3. Oregano Oil for Throat and Sinus Support

Upper body and partial face of a woman with her hand gently holding her throat

The traditional medicinal use of oregano can be traced back to ancient Greece. Herbalists and traditional doctors began recommending the herb for relief of respiratory ailments, sinus conditions, and digestive complaints long before it was supported by modern medicine. [5]

Oregano’s characteristic flavour and aroma come courtesy of certain aromatic elements, largely the antibacterial compounds carvacrol and thymol. [6]

Carvacrol is a particularly promising constituent of oregano oil in that it has been seen to deter the growth of Group A streptococci, the organisms responsible for strep throat.[7] Laboratory assays show that carvacrol has the ability to kill streptococci cells in as little as one hour of exposure.

4. Oregano Oil as an Anti-Fungal

Oregano oil also contains high levels of thymol, an anti-fungal compound. Test tube research suggests that thymol has a fungicidal effect on Candida species, which may make it useful for oral yeast infections as well as for other fungal infections. [8] 

5. Oregano Oil for Digestive Complaints

Herbal remedies that contain high levels of both carvacrol and thymol, including oregano oil, may be helpful in addressing chronic bacterial issues such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) that can affect gut health. That’s because these antimicrobial compounds have been shown to destroy certain intestinal parasites and bacteria linked to the condition. [9,10]

Given oregano’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, [11] it is easy to see why this natural oil has traditionally been used by herbalists for digestive complaints.


How to Choose a High-Quality Oregano Oil

Not all oil of oregano is the same. When choosing products, be sure to check whether they are standardized to contain meaningful amounts of the active ingredients, namely carvacrol.

Fresh oregano leaves contain only 1–2% of carvacrol on a weight-by-weight basis, meaning you would need to consume unreasonable amounts of the herb to achieve the same health benefits as a concentrated product. [12]

January and February are peak times for catching the flu, but some of you may already be feeling that familiar scratch in the throat. If that’s the case, reach for some oil of oregano and fight back! In addition to frequent hand washing, a nutritious diet, and plenty of rest, Natural Factors Organic Oil of Oregano could be your ticket to escaping the cold and flu season unscathed.

Natural Factors Organic Oil of Oregano is made from wild-crafted Origanum vulgare using gentle steam distillation to ensure purity and a guaranteed minimum of 80% carvacrol. Take one softgel daily with food or 4 drops of the liquid directly under the tongue or mixed with water.

Natural Factors
We are passionate and knowledgeable about a wide range of natural health topics.
  1. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Common Colds. Available from:
  2. Daferera DJ, Ziogas BN, Polissiou MG. GC-MS analysis of essential oils from some Greek aromatic plants and their fungitoxicity on Penicillium digitatum. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 June;48(6):2576-2581.
  3. Chrpova D, Kourimska L, Gordon M, et al. Antioxidant activity of selected phenols and herbs used in diets for medical conditions. Czech J Food Sci. 2010;28(4):317-325.
  4. Osakabe N, Takano H, Sanbongi C, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism. BioFactors. 2004;21(1-4):127-131.
  5. Gutierrez-Grijalva EP, Picos-Salas MA, Leyva-Lopez N, et al. Flavonoids and phenolic acids from oregano: Occurrence, biological activity and health benefits. Plants. 2017 Dec 26;7(1):piiE2.
  6. Mancini E, Camele I, Elshafie HS, et al. Chemical composition and biological activity of the essential oil of Origanum vulgaressp. hirtumfrom different areas in the Southern Apennines (Italy). Chem Biodivers. 2014 Apr;11(4):639-651.
  7. Magi G, Marini E, Facinelli B. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and carvacrol, and synergy of carvacrol and erythromycin, against clinical, erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococci. Front Microbiol. 2015 Mar 3;6:165.
  8. de Castro RD, de Souza TM, Bezerra LM, et al. Antifungal activity and mode of action of thymol and its synergism with nystatin against Candida species involved with infections in the oral cavity: an in vitro study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015;15:417.
  9. Arcila-Lozano CC, Loarca-Pina G, Lecona-Uribe S, et al. [Oregano: properties, composition and biological activity]. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2004;54(1):100–111.
  10. Saeed S, Tariq P. Antibacterial activity of oregano (Origanum vulgare Linn.) against gram positive bacteria. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009;22(4):421–424.
  11. Leyva-López N, Gutiérrez-Grijalva EP, Vazquez-Olivo G, et al. Essential oils of oregano: biological activity beyond their antimicrobial properties. Molecules. 2017;22(6):989.
  12. Bejaouo A, Chaabane H, Jemli M, et al. Essential oil composition and antibacterial activity of Origanum vulgaresubsp. glandulosum Desf. at different phenological stages. J Med Food. 2013 Dec;16(12):1115-1120.