Oregano is such a common culinary herb that we often forget to include it in the list of medicinal herbs though it certainly is one. Oregano has many properties – too many to get into here though I do want to mention the main two properties I use oregano for: as a digestive aid and as an emmenagogue. Later on in this article I will also talk about how to cultivate oregano in your garden – spoiler alert: oregano is so easy to grow.
Medicinal properties of Oregano:
Digestive: when added to meals or drunken as tea, oregano has some amazing digestive abilities. In other words, this herb kick-starts your digestive system. You can prepare a tea when you have a stomach ache, gas, and even helps battle candida overgrowth (aka yeast infections). You can add fresh or dried leaves to beans, meat dishes, and of course, pasta! Oregano is an aromatic herb and ever so slightly bitter which is where the digestive properties come from. Personally, I love to add fresh oregano to pot of beans or eat with butter and cheese atop of steamed vegetables.
Emmenagogue: refers to herbs with that stimulate menstruation. I use about a tea spoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water and let steep for at least 15 minutes. This is one of my go to herbs when having a late or painful period. Not only does oregano encourage menstrual flow but also eases the pain of cramps. I would recommend drinking no more than two cups per day before and/or during one’s period. This is one of those herbs to avoid during pregnancy.
How to grow Oregano:
Grow in a ceramic pot or in a raised bed, in among the vegetables or in a herb spiral – in our garden we have oregano planted in many places but always with full sun & moderate water. This is one of those plants that really doesn’t need much care or attention and will slowly creep – getting bigger with each year.
How to use Oregano:
As mentioned above – I use fresh oregano a lot in cooking & tea. Sometimes I use fresh oregano alone but most often I use it dried mixed with dried rosemary and sage.
I let the herbs dry slowly in a shady, protected place then grind them down to go into a condiment shaker. This herbal combo goes on pastas, cheese-y rice, and potatoes, truly yum!
If you have herbalism books at home, I suggest cracking one open and reading what that book has to say about oregano. And I also recommend the “You know Oregano” episodes by Herbal Marie which goes into many more medicinal uses of this lovely herb: here is the link to the episode. Happy oregano gardening!