Oregano Essential Oil (excerpted from Mountain Rose herbal info)
Botanical Name: Origanum vulgare
Common Method Of Extraction: Steam distilled
Parts Used: Flowering plant
Note Classification: Middle
Aroma: Warm, spicy-herbaceous, and camphoraceous
Largest Producing Countries: USA, Bulgaria, Turkey, Spain and Italy
Traditional Use: Used as a fragrance component in soaps, colognes and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances.
Properties: Analgesic, anthelminthic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, antiviral, bactericidal, carminative, choleretic, cytophylactic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicidal, parasiticide, rubefacient, stimulant, and tonic.
Benefits: If used on the skin it should be extremely diluted. Arthritis, bronchitis, colds, flu, general debility, infections, muscular pain, respiratory infection, and rheumatism.
Blends Well With: Bay, bergamot, camphor, cedarwood, chamomile roman, citronella, cypress, eucalyptus (all), lavandin, lavender, lemon, litsea cubeba, oakmoss, orange, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, spike lavender, tea tree, thyme linalol, and thyme red.
Of Interest: This plant is favored by bees and often used in Mediterranean cooking.
Safety Data: Dermal toxin, skin irritant, mucous membrane irritant. Avoid during pregnancy.
Using Essential Oregano Oil for therapeutic purposes:
To be safe for internal use, oregano essential oil must be made from only the wild, mountain-grown varieties of the Mediterranean. A safe bet is to only buy oil made from Origanum vulgare. This oregano species has low levels of thymol (less than 2%), which is an antimicrobial compound with known toxicity at certain higher levels.
Full strength it can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. But diluting it in a carrier oil makes it gentler to the skin and mucous membranes, as well as the delicate lining of the digestive tract. Oregano has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties which actually help to relieve inflamed or spastic tissue of the digestive tract lining.
Companies offering high quality Oil of Oregano have already diluted the strong oregano oil into a carrier oil. Others, offering the essential oil (such as for use in aromatherapy or fragrance applications), offer it full strength, in which case you need to dilute it before using internally or applying to the body.
To make your own diluted infusion of Oregano Essential Oil, simply use a small empty glass dropper bottle, fill it 3/4's full with extra virgin olive oil, and then fill it the rest of the way with your high quality Oregano Essential Oil. Cap it and gently shake it to combine the oils well. Do a patch test as described below with this mixture before beginning treatment. Dilute more if necessary before beginning treatment.
Below is an excerpt (in italics below) on how to properly use Oregano Essential Oil, from the Alternative Medicine Encyclopedia on Answers.com:
"Oregano essential oil should never be used undiluted. Always dilute it in a suitable carrier oil, such as olive oil, almond oil, or v-6 mixing oil. As with any product used for medicinal purposes, it is important to read and follow the label instructions and warnings.
A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using oregano essential oil for the first time. To do this, place a small amount of diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow and apply a bandage. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any negative reaction, such as redness or irritation, before proceeding with more extensive use.
Because essential oregano oil is concentrated, a little bit goes a long way. At first, it may be wise to start out cautiously by using only 1 drop of essential oregano oil to 3 parts olive oil and massage into the affected area once or twice a day.
To topically treat fungal infections on the skin and nails, Dr. Jennifer Brett, a naturopathic physician and chair of the botanical medicine department at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in Connecticut suggests the following: Dilute 1 teaspoon essential oregano oil in 2 teaspoons olive oil and apply with a cotton swab to the affected area up to three times a day.
To treat bacterial and fungal infections in other parts of the body, 1 drop of oil may be placed in an 8-ounce glass of water or juice once or twice a day. One drop may also be placed under the tongue twice a day, but it should be mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or olive oil.
For use in the bath, mix 1 to 3 drops of diluted oregano essential oil with body gel or shampoo and add it to the bath water. As an antiseptic, the diluted oil can be used in cloths to wipe down kitchen and bathroom countertops."