Oregano (origanum vulgare) is a perennial herb native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and is closely related to sweet marjoram. It is 20-90cm tall, with opposing dark green leaves and purple-pink flowers in erect spikes. The leaves are widely used in cooking, and essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers by steam distillation.
Oregano oil is high in antioxidant activity, due to its high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. It is also a powerful antimicrobial.
It is used to treat colds, influenza, mild fevers, fungal infections, ear infections, indigestion, enteric parasites and painful menstruation. It is a strong sedative. Mild teas are soothing and ensure restful sleep. It is an excellent antiseptic, and may be used directly on the skin.
Oregano is effective against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).