Oregano
The Power Herb

One of the most popular herbs to use in cooking, but has countless medicinal properties too. This herb has the power to heal, disinfect, preserve and promote relaxation.

History

Originally from the Mediterranean - Origanum vulgare – was discovered by Americans after World War II. This culinary herb has been the most popular herb since then. There have more than forty different species and a dozen of varieties developed to grow and use.

The true oregano herb plant when the leaves are eaten fresh has a hot bite that numbs the tongue a little.

Growing Tips

This herb is an excellent culinary, medicinal and best of all deer resistant plant. 

Since it’s from the Mediterranean this herb requires full sun in a dry warm spot with excellent drainage. It doesn’t like it roots wet and soggy. If the soil is rich in organic matter it will produce a strong robust flavor.

Gather the leaves before it flowers to retain the most culinary flavor and medicinal properties. Freeze or dry the leaves. Preserve in oil or make some delicious herbal vinegar. The flowering tops are easily dried for herbal teas.

Medicinal Uses

Flowers: The flowers are used as infused teas to help with…

  • Coughs
  • Stomach and gallbladder disorders
  • Nervous headaches and irritability
  • General exhaustion
  • Menstrual pains

Externally the flowering tops are made into an antiseptic poultice (mashed) for…

  • Swelling
  • Rheumatism
  • Stiff necks, muscular pain

Leaves:  The leaves are infused as a tea and used internally for…

  • Colds, influenza, minor feverish illnesses
  • Indigestion, flatulence, stomach upsets
  • Painful menstruation
  • Sea sickness

Externally the leaves are made into an antiseptic poultice (mashed leaves) for…

  • Swelling
  • Rheumatism
  • Stiff necks, muscular pain

Oil: The oil is used for…

  • Oil used to kill lice, although it may cause skin irritation
  • Aromatherapy relaxing massage
  • Chew the leaves or rub on a drop of essential oil for temporary relief of a toothache
  • Sore throats because of its antimicrobial powers, use only a few drops in water

Gardening

Attract bees and other beneficial insects

Cooking

The leaves of this herb plant are great tasting when added to tomato sauce and pizza. It adds a little spicy flavor while getting some medicinal properties as well. Add generously to soups, stews, broths, popcorn, home fries, Mexican cooking, chili, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and wine - predominate (infused with wine).

Oregano Varieties

  • Greek  – True oregano collected in the mountains of Greece with white flowers and is very hardy. Zone 5-11

   (I grow this one and I’m in a zone 4 and it grows very well here in the Northeast.)

  • Golden  - With a mild flavor this one is great for rock gardens, patio container gardens or edging your flower beds.

  • Cold crisp – A variety with round, crinkly leaves and is a more delicate variety.    It’s great in a window box herb garden, hanging basket or strawberry jars. Zone 7-9


  • Italian – This variety is similar to marjoram and with a strong robust flavor used for cooking. Zone 8-10

  • Mexican – This is the one used in chilies and other flavorful Mexican dishes. Zone 9-11


As one of the most popular culinary herbs oregano is recognized for its powerful antiseptic, preservative and promoter of relaxation. This herb is easy to use in cooking or as a medicinal herbal tea to help with asthma or arthritis.

Learn more about Oregano, Indoor herb garden, Kitchen herb garden, window herb garden or container garden

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