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Although oregano is such a pleasant aromatic herb, its essential oil can be a bit of a shock to the senses. It has a sharp, herby flavour and even one drop can make your throat burn and your ears pop. Remember what happens to Asterix every time he drinks the magic potion? That’s what we are talking about. It’s all well worth it, but it can be a bit brutal if you don’t know the ropes. To be precise, the more an oregano essential oil burns, the more potent it is in its antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (more about its properties in our previews post). So, you do want your oregano oil to be strong, but you don’t want to choke one afternoon in the middle of your apartment while getting your healthy fix. Fear not, friends; because we put so many methods to the test (no guinea pigs were used for this, just friends and family) and we are here to share what works…
First, let’s start with some (boring but) important information. Oregano essential oil is US FDA approved and is indeed approved as a potable item (granted that you buy a high-quality oregano essential oil like ours, intended for internal as well as topical use). It is a hot essential oil, so you should always dilute it. Note that although its use is approved and its benefits are backed up by numerous studies, you still need to check with your doctor or naturopath before using it, to make sure that it is safe for you personally. Also, you should avoid continued use over long periods of time or exceed the recommended amount mainly because it will reduce the body’s response to the instant antimicrobial effect that the oil has. Our body cells metabolize oils through complex chemical reactions (that scientists are still studying), so we shouldn’t exceed this metabolic capacity of the cells.
Lastly, we want to make clear that not all essential oils of oregano are the same; these guidelines are formed based on the Aetheleon oregano organic essential oil, which is of high quality, purity and potency. Weaker or diluted oils might require different treatment.
So, let the fun begin…
- The classic
a small shot of water with one drop of oregano essential oil. It’s quick, it’s easy and it gets the job done without faffing around. Our personal favourite for days that we feel a cold coming. Make sure it goes directly to your throat. Holding your breath before and after swallowing helps you avoid the burning sensation. A bite of bread or cheese also takes away the spicy feeling from your mouth.
- Last straw
As above, but using a straw, so the solution goes straight down without burning the mouth.
- Oil + oil
a drop of oregano essential oil in a spoonful of olive oil. Jug that down with water. One could say that this even tastes pleasant. Some prefer it on a slice of bread (toasted or not). Tested and approved!
- Chef’s special
if you just can’t be bothered with taking oregano oil as a medicine, just throw a drop (or two) in your salad’s oil, mayonnaise, your Mexican salsa, a warm bowl of lentil soup. It adds some zing in your food, plus, you get all the benefits.
This one came from a friend who is a doctor himself so, for treating his 10-year-old daughter’s cough, he came up with the idea of a loaded syringe (needle removed of course) with about 20ml of water and one drop of the essential oil. The taste can be too sharp for the children; however, when the watery solution is shot down their throat, they don’t taste it at all. (Reminder: only children above 7 years of age and only after medical advice!)
Another classic. A small piece of soft bread with one drop of the oregano oil, rolled into a tiny (lentil-sized) ball, seems to keep the tang away for whoever doesn’t like a bit of a sting.
Same as above. Just replace the piece of soft bread with a small sugar cube. Who eats sugar nowadays, though, so scratch that off and add a drop of oregano oil in a teaspoon of yummy honey.
- The capsule
For elaborate DIY-ers, you can always get a kit that helps you make your own capsules, simply by filling them with one-two drops of our oregano essential oil. This might be a helpful method for some. However, keep in mind that the rest of the methods mentioned have the extra benefit of letting the oil pass through the mouth and the esophagus, giving some love to the upper part of your GI tract as well.
- Flu cocktail
Oh, haven’t we been creative with this one. Juice some apple and ginger. Add in a bit of honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper and a drop of oregano essential oil. Shake, blend, or stir even. You can use a straw or one of those ridiculous umbrellas (it won’t make it taste any better). This doesn’t exactly sound like an ideal Friday night drink, but it will make sure that you fight rapidly those flu symptoms. If you want to take it up a notch, throw some garlic in that juicer too.
A choir teacher told us that she hasn’t had a stuffy nose since she started adding a drop of oregano essential oil in a bowl of steamy water. She traps the steam by throwing a towel over her nose (protecting her eyes) and inhales for a few minutes. In fact, she has the entire choir following her practice now and they all swear by it. (Note to self: try this weekly treatment and see what happens to my acne.)
Nerdy reminder: Internal use should be kept to no more than two weeks in a month, and no more than twelve weeks every year. Of course, keep out of eyes, ears, or nose and note that its use is not allowed for children under 7 years of age. For older children or during pregnancy and breastfeeding, always ask a professional medical practitioner before use.
- Antimicrobial healing oil
A few drops of oregano essential oil added in a carrier oil like almond or sesame seed oil. This can be kept in a dark tinted glass bottle and used on wounds, insect bites, a variety of skin conditions and fungal problems. A cotton ball soaked in this blend and left on the nails, should keep any nasty nail fungus at bay, if repeated often.
- Muscle balm
A few drops of oregano along with other essential oils like sage, carrier oils and thickening agents such as with beeswax, shea or cocoa butter, makes a beautiful balm that can be used for muscle pain, strains and spasms. Just apply it in topically whenever you need to relief a sore muscle.
- Happy feet
Dilute 1-2 drops in your favourite carrier oil (coconut, olive, castor etc) and rub the soles of your feet to help boost your immune system.
Your skin here is less sensitive than the rest of your body (especially if you like walking barefoot), so you are less likely to have an allergic reaction. Plus, there are more nerve endings per square centimetre in the foot than any other part of the body, so your nervous system will get the memo fast.
- Diffuse (Burner)
When having sick people at home, make a light blend of essential oils which include oregano, eucalyptus and orange and add them to the essential oil diffuser, just to keep the air clean. Some friends who had a major mold issue in their house, kept diffusing oregano essential oil for weeks, with impressive results. There is something about oregano essential oil that just makes the air feel pleasantly fresh.
A few drops of oregano essential oil in your DIY toothpaste will give it a good antibacterial kick. Some of our friends have been using this over a year and they swear that their teeth have gotten healthier. You can find many recipes online, but a basic blend of coconut oil with a dash of baking soda, cinnamon and turmeric, is all it takes. It feels awkward at first but it leaves your breath surprisingly fresh too. We thought it would smell like souvlaki to be honest.
- The Clean-Freak
If you don’t mind spending a few of these precious drops for your home, there are endless ways you can use oregano essential oil purely for its antimicrobial effect on surfaces. We know people adding a couple of drops of oregano essential oil in some water and spraying down surfaces or the sofa. You can even use oregano essential oil on your nail clippers, your retainer and earrings to keep things clean. A brilliant solution for us that make our own natural cleaning products at home.
Nerdy reminder: Αs with any essential oil, always do a skin patch test before use (Take a small quantity, dilute it in a carrier oil and apply it to sensitive areas of the body like the inner wrist or inner elbow, wait for 12-24 hours to see if it causes any skin reactions – if not, go for it!)
That’s the information we have gathered so far, but we keep hearing more and more people using the essential oil of oregano in a lot of creative ways. If you have been using our oregano essential oil in a different way, let us know and we will keep experimenting and sharing. If you haven’t, it only takes one drop to be converted. Just order yours online from Oliveology and join the tribe!