Last Updated: January 24 2023

Origanum vulgare (Oregano) is a spice. Its essential oil component, oil of oregano, is sold as an immune booster. The oil has various antimicrobial properties and can preserve food quality during storage. Human evidence for supplementation is lacking.

Oregano is most often used for


Origanum vulgare is the botanical name for the spice oregano. It is commonly used to flavor food or brew tea. The essential oil of oregano also has several alternate uses. It is made up primarily of carvacrol. The leaves of the plant contain a variety of antioxidant compounds, such as rosmarinic acid.

Traditionally, a leaf of Origanum vulgare is taken alongside a meal to aid digestion. One of the active components, thymol, is structurally similar to menthol, which is found in peppermint and is known to relax the soft tissue of the throat and stomach.

The oil of Oreganum vulgare is antibacterial, and has been used to prolong the shelf life of food products by reducing the rate of microbe growth and reducing the spoilage of fatty acids, which occurs when food products like meat go bad.

There is not much human evidence on supplementing either the leaf or oil form of Oreganum vulgare. The oil’s antioxidant aspect seems to be comparable to vitamin C ex vivo (outside the body). Origanum vulgare hinders bacterial replication, but further research is needed to pinpoint the exact mechanism.

The antibacterial properties of oregano oil suggest it is effective at warding off infection and boosting the human immune system, but human evidence for these effects is lacking. The lone study noting substantial efficacy against intestinal infection was funded by a manufacturer of oregano oil.

What else is Oregano known as?
Note that Oregano is also known as:
  • Oregano
  • Oil Of Oregano
  • Wild Marjoram
  • Origanum Vulgare
Oregano should not be confused with:
  • Origanum majorana (Sweet Marjoram)
Dosage information

The only study on using oil of oregano for oral supplementation used a dose of 600mg. To make tea, steep 15g of oregano leaves in 250mL of water.

The tea is traditionally used to aid digestion, while the oil has antibacterial properties that may boost the immune system.

Both the tea and oil is usually supplemented once a day.

Join our supplement information course

Examine Database: Oregano
What works and what doesn't?

Unlock the full potential of Examine

Get started

Don't miss out on the latest research

1.^Novo JM, Iriel A, Claudia Marchi M, Gabriela Lagorio MSpectroscopy, Microscopy and Fluorescence Imaging of Origanum vulgare L. Basis for Nondestructive Quality AssessmentPhotochem Photobiol.(2013 Jul 5)
2.^Sõukand R, Quave CL, Pieroni A, Pardo-de-Santayana M, Tardío J, Kalle R, Łuczaj Ł, Svanberg I, Kolosova V, Aceituno-Mata L, Menendez-Baceta G, Kołodziejska-Degórska I, Pirożnikow E, Petkevičius R, Hajdari A, Mustafa BPlants used for making recreational tea in Europe: a review based on specific research sitesJ Ethnobiol Ethnomed.(2013 Aug 13)
3.^Koukoulitsa C, Karioti A, Bergonzi MC, Pescitelli G, Di Bari L, Skaltsa HPolar constituents from the aerial parts of Origanum vulgare L. Ssp. hirtum growing wild in GreeceJ Agric Food Chem.(2006 Jul 26)
4.^Shen D, Pan MH, Wu QL, Park CH, Juliani HR, Ho CT, Simon JELC-MS method for the simultaneous quantitation of the anti-inflammatory constituents in oregano (Origanum species)J Agric Food Chem.(2010 Jun 23)
6.^Venkateswara Rao G, Mukhopadhyay T, Annamalai T, Radhakrishnan N, Sahoo MRChemical constituents and biological studies of Origanum vulgare LinnPharmacognosy Res.(2011 Apr)
7.^Nowak R, Wójciak-Kosior M, Sowa I, Sokołowska-Krzaczek A, Pietrzak W, Szczodra A, Kocjan RHPTLC-densitometry determination of triterpenic acids in Origanum vulgare, Rosmarinus officinalis and Syzygium aromaticumActa Pol Pharm.(2013 May-Jun)
8.^Matsuura H, Chiji H, Asakawa C, Amano M, Yoshihara T, Mizutani JDPPH radical scavengers from dried leaves of oregano (Origanum vulgare)Biosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2003 Nov)
9.^Teixeira B, Marques A, Ramos C, Serrano C, Matos O, Neng NR, Nogueira JM, Saraiva JA, Nunes MLChemical composition and bioactivity of different oregano (Origanum vulgare) extracts and essential oilJ Sci Food Agric.(2013 Feb 4)
10.^De Falco E, Mancini E, Roscigno G, Mignola E, Taglialatela-Scafati O, Senatore FChemical Composition and Biological Activity of Essential Oils of Origanum vulgare L. subsp. vulgare L. under Different Growth ConditionsMolecules.(2013 Dec 4)
11.^Afarineshe Khaki MR, Pahlavan Y, Sepehri G, Sheibani V, Pahlavan BAntinociceptive Effect of Aqueous Extract of Origanum vulgare L. in Male Rats: Possible Involvement of the GABAergic SystemIran J Pharm Res.(2013 Spring)
13.^Balerio GN, Rubio MCBaclofen analgesia: involvement of the GABAergic systemPharmacol Res.(2002 Sep)
14.^dos Santos NS, Athayde Aguiar AJ, de Oliveira CE, Veríssimo de Sales C, de Melo E Silva S, Sousa da Silva R, Stamford TC, de Souza ELEfficacy of the application of a coating composed of chitosan and Origanum vulgare L. essential oil to control Rhizopus stolonifer and Aspergillus niger in grapes (Vitis labrusca L.)Food Microbiol.(2012 Dec)
16.^Krkić N, Šojić B, Lazić V, Petrović L, Mandić A, Sedej I, Tomović VLipid oxidative changes in chitosan-oregano coated traditional dry fermented sausage Petrovská klobásaMeat Sci.(2013 Mar)
17.^Asensio CM, Nepote V, Grosso NRChemical stability of extra-virgin olive oil added with oregano essential oilJ Food Sci.(2011 Sep)
19.^de Barros JC, da Conceição ML, Neto NJ, da Costa AC, de Souza ELCombination of Origanum vulgare L. essential oil and lactic acid to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus in meat broth and meat modelBraz J Microbiol.(2012 Jul)
20.^Toulah FH, Esmail HA, Khan SThe efficacy of Origanum vulgare on Eimeria tenellaJ Egypt Soc Parasitol.(2012 Apr)
21.^Nostro A, Papalia TAntimicrobial activity of carvacrol: current progress and future prospectivesRecent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov.(2012 Apr)
22.^Liang CH, Chou TH, Ding HYInhibition of melanogensis by a novel origanoside from Origanum vulgareJ Dermatol Sci.(2010 Mar)
23.^Force M, Sparks WS, Ronzio RAInhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivoPhytother Res.(2000 May)