Oregano is native to Europe, the Mediterranean and southern Asia. It has tiny hair like glands on its surface called trichomes which reflect the intense rays of the sun. This is a trait common to most plants in the Lamiaceae or Mint family. The trichomes synthesize and accumulate essential oils and phenols which protect the plant from oxidation while allowing it to survive in dry and hot conditions with direct exposure to intense sunlight. Throughout history, Oregano was used primarily as a culinary spice and medicinal plant for coughs, stomach distress, and topically for wounds and inflammation but also as an ornamental in gardens. Oregano has many volatile oils. The main volatile oils that have been researched in this plant are Carvacrol, Thymol, Eugenol and 1, 8 cineole. The plant also contains appreciable amounts of Rosmarinic acid and other antioxidants. Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Oregano contains key constituents that function synergistically to support the body’s natural resistance to microscopic invaders in the environment. Specifically, the volatile oils found in oregano, contain potent phenols, including carvacrol and thymol, which help to support a healthy microbial environment in the intestines and throughout the body. In vitro studies of Oregano oil, along with other essential oils such as Tea Tree oil, appears to have a particular affinity for Candida species as well as a variety of gram postitive and gram negative bacteria. Oregano has been shown to possess significant antioxidant capacity in various in vitro models and has thus been suggested to be potentially beneficial to human health but more research is needed to scientifically validate all of these actions in humans.
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