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Oregano is a perennial herb. The leaves, stems and flowers are used medicinally. Oregano has been recognized for its aromatic properties since ancient times. In ancient Greece, oregano was called 'Joy of the Mountain' and was considered a symbol of joy and happiness. Ancient Egyptians considered Origanum species to be sacred to the god Osiris, and wove it into crowns or wreaths worn during rituals.
Oregano is commonly used as a food flavoring and preservative. Traditionally, oregano has been used to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual irregularities. Modern herbalists recommend topical application of oregano oil for the treatment of infection.
Early study suggests that oregano may have antiparasitic, antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial and insect repellent activities. There is limited scientific evidence to support any of these suggested uses for oregano.
Early study shows that taking oregano by mouth may help treat parasites. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
There is no proven effective dose for oregano. Oregano has been taken in doses of 200 milligrams of emulsified oil three times daily with meals for six weeks for the treatment of enteric parasites. As a dietary supplement, two capsules (dose unknown) once or twice daily has been recommended with meals, or a few drops of oil of oregano can be added to milk or juice.
Oregano oil has also been applied topically (on the skin), and shampoos and teas (gargle, mouthwash) are commercially available. For use as a bath additive, 100 grams of dried oregano leaf may be steeped in one liter of water for 10 minutes, strained and added to a full bath.
There is no proven effective dose for oregano in children.
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