Oregano (Scientific name: Origanum vulgare) is
also known as Wild Marjoram, Mountain Mint, Origanum, Wintersweet
and Winter Marjoram. This erectly spreading plant has strong aromatic
characteristics, with leaves and stems that are fleshy. The leaves of
oregano are heart-shaped, with toothed edges, and which, grow for up
to 9 meters in length. In other countries, the plant is primarily used
as a culinary ingredient. However, in countries like the Philippines,
Oregano is a known herbal medicine for its strong anti-oxidant properties.
Oregano contains a rosmarinic acid compound, thymol, and carvacrol that
are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant,
anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Oregano also contains flavinoids,
triterpenoids, sterols, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Its anti-bacterial
properties have been proven by recent studies to treat infections of
the reproductive tracts, and which make it ideal to be given to women
who have just given birth.
The volatile oils in oregano and its properties are believed to be
responsible for slowing the process of spoilage of food and thus
minimizing the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria, parasites and fungi.
The anti-oxidant properties of oregano helps fight free radicals in
the body that cause cellular damage and accelerate ageing. Free
radicals are believed to be involved with many degenerative diseases
like osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis and heart diseases, to name a few.
The most useful parts of this plant are its leaves. The extracts and
juices of such are used for asthma, dyspepsia, chronic coughs, bronchitis,
and rheumatism. Ear aches have also been proven to be cured by the infusion
prepared from its leaves. The leaves relieve painful swellings, boils,
and sprains, when their poultices are applied directly to the affected area.