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Oregano

Oregano

Botanical Description & Habitat


Oregano :: Health properties include diuretic, diaphoretic, tonic, expectorant for coughs, bronchial problems Common names
Origanum vulgare
Wild marjoram
(click image to enlarge)  
 

Historical Properties & Uses

Oregano, or wild marjoram, has been used over the centuries much like other herbs high in essential oils (thymol, carvacol, tannin, borneol, linalool, etc.): as a stimulant, carminative, gastrointestinal and uterine spasmolytic, diuretic, diaphoretic, tonic, expectorant for coughs, bronchial problems, choleretic for gastrointestinal problems, headaches, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Oregano itself has not been the subject of very much research, but the properties of several of its well known components suggest this herb indeed possesses many of the medicinal properties common to those with similar constituents. Oregano has not demonstrated any adverse reactions.

Oregano is hypotensive; this may partially explain its historic use as a cardiac tonic.

This herb has not achieved approval status by the German Commission E. Either there was insufficient evidence in favor, or a contraindication.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
 

Method of Action

Oregano may be hypotensive
In doses of 0.25 to 1.0 ml/kg administered intravenously, extracts of oregano (marjoram) leaves decreased the blood pressure of anesthetized cats by more than 40% for a period of more than 20 minutes. While this is not extremely impressive evidence for the use of majoram tea or extract, the level of hypotensive activity observed suggests further research should be carried out.

Major effects of oregano may be due to thymol and carvacrol
Oregano contains up to 1.0% volatile oil, most of which is thymol and carvacrol. These chemicals have strong fungicidal, anthelmintic, and irritant properties (please see Thyme for a complete discussion). The oil reportedly has spasmolytic, expectorant, diuretic, and choleretic properties, as do most herbs high in essential oils.
 

Drug Interactions & Precautions

There is presently insufficient data on this subject.
 

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Oregano possesses no known toxicity.

The German Commission E status is "null" or neutral i.e. while it is not approved, there is no documented risk. There may also be some concern over the claims made by manufacturers i.e. they are unproven.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
 

Preparation & Administration

There is presently insufficient data on this subject.
 

References

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Committee on Pharmocopaeia of the Am Institute of Homeopathy, The Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia of the United States. 8th ed., Vol 1. Otis Clapp and Son, Agents, Boston, l981.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. MacMillan, NY.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

Kiangsu Institute of Medicine. Encyclopedia of Chinese Drugs (2 volumes). Shanghai, Prc.

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Martin, E. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Co., Phila.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Perkov, V. Plants with hypotensive, antiatheramatous and coronarodilating action. Am Journal Of Chinese Medicine, 7(3), 197-236, 1979.

Scientific Committee, British Herbal Pharmocopaeia, British Herbal Med Assoc, Lane House, Cowling, Na Keighley, West Yorks, Bd Bd220lx, l983