Herb - Oregano | Wild marjoram

Oregano, Wild marjoram

Origanum vulgare lamiaceae Also called Wild marjoram

A perennial that can reach a height of 30-80cm, oregano is common throughout Europe, particularly in dry places. Its pointed, oval leaves grow in pairs opposite each other along the woody, reddish stems. Between July and September, round clusters of pinkish crimson flowers appear at the top of the plant, offering passing bees an abundance of scented nectar. As well as having medicinal value, the aromatic plant is also a popular culinary herb.

Parts used

  • Aerial parts
  • The best time for gathering oregano is in early July, just as the first flowers appear.
  • Once picked, the aerial parts are dried and used for infusions or to extract the essential oil.


Oregano is rich in flavonoids, and the essential oil contains thymol and carvacrol, which have both antiseptic and antispasmodic properties.

Medicinal uses

Researchers have demonstrated the ability of thymol and carvacrol in the essential oil to act against bacterial and fungal infections. For example, in 2001, American studies showed the power of the essential oil to act against the fungus Candida albicans,This can cause thrush. The essential oil is also beneficial in the treatment of urinary,lung and intestinal infections, and is known to have a stimulating, tonic effect.

Scientists have also demonstrated the antispasmodic powers of thymol and carvacrol, and oregano infusions are recommended for coughs and bronchitis, as well as for indigestion caused by stomach spasms.

Oregano can also be applied externally in ointments and massage ., oils to help ease rheumatic pain, . period pain and headaches


  • In large doses oregano may cause excitability and irritability.
  • Applied externally, the essential oil may cause skin irritations.
  • Never ingest the essential oil, unless prescribed by a doctor or medical herbalist, as it can irritate the mucous membranes.
  • Avoid oregano when pregnant, as it can stimulate the uterus.


Oregano can be grown from seeds, sown in autumn. It thrives in dryish, neutral to alkaline soil with plenty of warmth and sunlight.


For internal use

TO TREAT abdominal wind, stomach upsets
INFUSION Put 20g of aerial parts into 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes and strain. Drink 1 cup after every meal.
TO TREAT bronchitis

INFUSION (see above) Drink 3-4 cups a day.

For external use

TO TREAT rheumatic pain, headaches
MASSAGE Oil Soak 100g of aerial parts in 500ml of warmed olive oil for 30 minutes. Strain and apply three or four times a day to painful areas, including, if necessary, the forehead and temples. Otherwise apply a mix of 3 drops of essential oil to every 10ml of carrier oil.



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